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July 29, 2013

Fermo's Got Chocolate Milk

Local runner one of Team REFUEL's newest sponsored athletes

BEAUMONT — Marathoner Jeremy Fermo didn’t know much anything about sports when he was a student at Nederland High School.

“I was in the Nederland marching band; I didn’t take P.E.,” the 33-year-old Lumberton resident said.

It wasn’t until he wanted to lose a few pounds years back and started walking that he started caring about his physical fitness. Walking turned into running and then he started training for his first half-marathon about three years ago.

“I got addicted,” Fermo said.

In three years, he has run 11 marathons, 16 half marathons and a countless number of 5Ks, 10Ks and 5-mile races in between. He and his brother, William, are two of the founding members of the Golden Triangle Strutters, a running club for all paces that meets in Beaumont twice a week.

On top of all that, he is one of the newest Got Chocolate Milk Team REFUEL sponsored athletes for 2013.

Before the sponsorship, Fermo would cringe at the thought of how many thousands of dollars he has spent on races over the years.

“I don’t like to think about it; I’m always paying last minute fees (or donations as I like to think of them) for 5Ks and other races,” Fermo said.

While at the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon last year, he stopped by the Got Chocolate Milk booth at the expo the day before the race.

“There was a Chocolate Milk booth at the expo and they were looking for people to do short interviews,” Fermo said. “(My friend) wasn’t really someone to go in front of a camera, but I told her I would do an interview, too. A month later, they told me I was a finalist.”

Fermo’s one-minute long video, that included his running history and why he likes to drink chocolate milk as an athlete, put him in the running with hundreds of people to become Got Chocolate Milk Team REFUEL sponsored athletes.

Once his video was uploaded to the voting website, he began asking people on his social networks to vote for him.

“I would make crazy pictures, movie trailers, posters – it was fun,” he said.

The hard networking paid off because Fermo was chosen for the March 2013 team and then traveled to Chicago to the be in a Team REFUEL print advertisement that was slated to run in national magazines, like “Running Times” and “Competitor.”

“It was a seven-hour shoot and it was raining most of the time – cold and windy and exactly what I thought Chicago would be like,” Fermo said. “I drank a gallon and a half of chocolate milk in the process and then ran six miles in between shoots.”

Kelly Magnus, a Got Chocolate Milk representative, said that her crew knew that Fermo was a natural leader in his local running community from his first video.

“He’s an advocate for refueling with chocolate milk and someone we thought would be able to help us get other people on board,” Magnus said.

The Got Chocolate Milk team has been around for only a year but already has about 100 sponsored athletes.

“Our goal is to really build a community of athletes who believe in using chocolate milk to reach their fullest potential,” Magnus said. “With that, we want them to share our message, race in our gear and be true representatives of the Got Chocolate Milk brand while helping out their running community.”

Besides the print ad, Fermo received a check for $500, $300 worth of running gear and unlimited free submissions into all Rock ‘n’ Roll races and Iron Man competitions. There are also major discounts for sunglasses and other gear that is sponsored by Got Chocolate Milk.

After he was chosen as an individual, Fermo decided to pick a group of eight runners from the Strutters to apply for sponsorship as a team.

“They reopened the team option and I got the Strutters to make a video and we sent it in,” Fermo said. “There was only one other team going up against us because not many people knew about it.”

His team was chosen and is able to share the sponsorship perks for a year. The perks don’t quit after the year is up, however, because they are then considered alumni and still receive discounted items and free race entries.

Fermo’s transformation from marching band member to marathoner has been a long one. But with the help of his sponsors, Got Chocolate Milk, it’s now not as expensive and he’s able to share his love of competing with the world outside of Southeast Texas.

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