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Garmin® Bolsters Role in Fitness Industry Through Race Sponsorships, Forerunner 50 Release

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“Since the announcement of the Forerunner 50, runners, walkers and cyclists have looked forward to this sleek fitness watch that combines quality and functionality that fitness enthusiasts want, for a low price,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales, “We can’t think of a better place to first make it available than the Garmin store and our Expo booth during the weekend of the Chicago Marathon.”

Garmin’s growing presence in the fitness world has been evident at more than a dozen races around the country through the first nine months of 2007, and the company’s sponsorship schedule shows no signs of slowing down. After welcoming tens of thousands of runners, friends and family to Chicago — home of Garmin’s retail store at 663 N. Michigan Ave. — the company known around the world for its navigation and communication devices will sponsor and support the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4 (37,000 runners), the Las Vegas Marathon on Dec. 2 (25,000 runners) and the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and ? Marathon on Jan. 13 (35,000 runners). At the Garmin store this weekend, visitors can make personalized Thunder Stix for the runners they support, or they can hop on a treadmill to try out the Forerunner 50, available all weekend at the store and the marathon Expo.

The central element of the Forerunner 50 system, announced at Outdoor Retailer 2007, is an advanced fitness watch which interfaces wirelessly with other fitness devices such as a heart rate monitor or a foot pod that monitors speed and distance.  The system includes a wireless USB ANT™ Stick that plugs into the user’s PC and automatically downloads workout data stored on the watch to a personal computer. No cables are necessary as the Forerunner 50 synchronizes with the computer once it is in close proximity. Depending on the model purchased, the Forerunner 50 accurately monitors and records heart rate or speed and distance or all of the above.

With this entry-level fitness watch priced at under $100, Garmin broadens its appeal to the millions of consumers who want to burn calories in a cost-effective manner. While the Forerunner 50 processes much of the same data as its GPS-enabled predecessors, those functions are packaged in a very compact device the size of a typical fitness watch. 

The Forerunner 50 and USB ANT™ Stick with Heart Rate Monitor has a suggested retail price of $99; the Forerunner 50 and USB ANT™ Stick with Foot Pod has an MSRP of $149; and the Forerunner 50 and USB ANT™ Stick with Foot Pod and Heart Rate Monitor is expected to be available at select retailers with an MSRP of $199. 

Learn more about the Forerunner 50, ANT+Sport and Garmin Connect by visiting the Forerunner 50 mini site at www.garmin.com/buzz/fr50/.  Additional information about Garmin’s other product announcements and race sponsorships may be found at http://www.garmin.com/.