Mile News

Leo Manzano: An American Love Story & The Business of Running

June 02, 2014

"I have a new coach, John Hayes, who is in my corner, Hawi is right there and the folks at HOKA ONE ONE are absolutely the best."

By Max Lockwood,

As viewers and spectators of sport, we are often engrossed with the performance of the athletes. They are fierce warriors who take their talents to the field and perform with admirable might and strength. This is the view of an observer. Often, though, we do not know about the severe stress professional athletes are under to perform at the highest levels in order to get paid and make a decent living. Leo Manzano's story is no different. 

In the professional ranks of running, in addition to their athletic prowess, our athletes are more and more placed into the position of business people who must leverage their own skills and talent for money. In many cases, they must hire agents who negotiate on their behalf. For Leo, a top tier runner in the prime of his career, finding a good agent to negotiate on his behalf was and is essential.

As a young, idealistic and committed athlete coming out of college, Leo Manzano saw only good things on the horizon. He was a champion at the collegiate level, loved the sport of running and was fully confident in his abilities to compete at the highest levels. Upon graduation, he signed with a well-known agent who represented many other great pro runners. Leo figured that going with a known commodity who was well regarded in the sport was the way to go and would help him get a good contract with a shoe company. Leo was correct, at least in the beginning. Nike signed Leo and their love affair began.

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