Brandi Chastain and Kerri Strug will 'Go for the Orange' at 2008 ING New York City Marathon

September 16, 2008 New York City Share: Print Subscribe to Email Alerts

Former soccer star Brandi Chastain and former gymnastics sensation Kerri Strug will trade in their old Team USA uniforms for orange running jerseys as they take on their next athletic challenge -- the 2008 ING New York City Marathon.

On Sunday, November 2, 2008, Chastain and Strug will partner with global financial services leader ING as they join nearly 40,000 participants for one of the world’s premier distance running events. The two will also serve as ambassadors for the ING Run for Something Better, a national program that promotes youth fitness and provides funding for free community and school-based running programs across the country.

During the marathon, Chastain and Strug will each wear a pair of ING’s signature orange shoelaces. These laces are given to anyone who makes a charitable donation of $10 or more to the ING Run for Something Better cause. ING’s orange laces are available at www.orangelaces.com. The two champions will also raise money for the program through fundraising websites where fans can go to support their efforts. These websites can be accessed at: www.orangelaces.com/nyc.

“Brandi and Kerri are two fantastic athletes who have ‘gone for the gold’ in their lives. We’re thrilled that they will now ‘go for the orange’ in this year’s ING New York City Marathon,” said Ann Glover, chief marketing officer for ING’s operations in the Americas. “Both women set incredibly high goals for themselves at a young age and worked hard to achieve them. This is exactly what the ING Run for Something Better program is all about. ING is excited that their support will help spread our positive message about youth running and fitness.”

"As an elite soccer player, I learned the value of physical fitness early on in life. I also know that being healthy as a child can lead to good habits as an adult," said Chastain. "By participating in the ING Run for Something Better program and running in the marathon, I hope to encourage thousands of children in New York City and across the country to embrace physical activity and create their own personal fitness goals.”

"Competing as a world-class gymnast demanded a healthy lifestyle,” noted Strug. As a young girl, and then as a teenager, I was always focused on proper exercise, training, and nutrition so that I could be successful at the highest level. Today, these things are still very important to me, especially as I pursue my current passion – running. I am excited to be partnering with ING and supporting the ING Run for Something Better so that others kids can learn these same values.”

Chastain and Strug have both achieved national fame in their sports. Their athletic accomplishments include Olympic gold medals and incredible performances that will live in the hearts and minds of Americans for years to come.

As a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Chastain participated in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and helped the Americans win the gold medal by playing every minute of every U.S. game. She is best known for her game-winning penalty kick against China in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final – perhaps the greatest goal in U.S women’s soccer history.

Strug was a member of the “Magnificent Seven,” the gymnastics team that also represented the U.S. at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Despite a serious ankle injury, she overcame adversity and performed a stunning vault to help clinch a gold medal for the women’s team competition – one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history.

Between the two athletes, they have won five Olympic medals -- three gold, one silver and one bronze-- and two World Cup championships.

In the U.S., childhood obesity has become a serious health epidemic. Educating kids about the importance of living an active and healthy life is the cornerstone of the ING Run for Something Better. Since 2003, over 30,000 children have participated in ING Run for Something Better programs in cities where ING sponsors long-distance running events. Children in these programs have reached a milestone of running more than one million miles. In the New York City-area, the successful program is organized by ING’s race partner, the New York Road Runners.

Currently, the ING Run for Something Better has provided more than $1,000,000 to school and community organizations that support running and fitness initiatives -- and has committed over $2,000,000 through 2010.

Press inquiries

Joe Loparco, ING Americas,860-580-2677, 860-462-6525, or jospeh.loparco@us.ing.com

About Brandi Chastain

Brandi Chastain is a former soccer player and most recently served as a soccer analyst for NBC’s Olympic broadcast coverage. She played for the U.S. women’s national soccer team from 1991-2004. Chastain became a household name in 1999 after her penalty shootout kick helped the U.S. beat China in the final game of the Women’s World Cup. She participated in the Women’s United Soccer Association from its formation in 2001 until its suspension in 2003. Chastain is actively serving the San Francisco community. In 2005, she along with Julie Foudy and Marlene Bjornsrud founded the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI), a public benefit, non-profit corporation with a mission to create programs and partnerships through which women athletes bring health, hope and wholeness to our community.

About Kerri Strug

Kerri Strug is a former U.S. women’s gymnast. She was a member of the Magnificent Seven from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. She is remembered for performing the vault despite having seriously injured her ankle. She completed her second and final vault on a sprained ankle to secure the first ever Olympic gold medal for the United States women's gymnastics team. This courageous and heroic moment was captured in countless media images and broadcast around the world, and secured her place in Olympic and sports history. Following her gymnastics career Strug attended UCLA and Stanford. Today, Strug is an active distance runner, having completed marathons in Houston and Boston.

About ING

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 130,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.

In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offer a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 14 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit www.ing.com.

About the ING Run for Something Better

The ING Run for Something Better is a fundraising campaign that supports community and school-based youth running programs. Linked to ING’s long-distance race sponsorships, the program was created to introduce kids to the benefits of sport, a habit of physical fitness, and a healthy lifestyle that prevents conditions such as childhood obesity. In today’s world of poor nutrition and less-active lifestyles – which may contribute to childhood obesity – ING has been using its position as a sponsor of marathons to help kids get fit through free school-based running programs. ING’s goal is to invest in the health of American children by donating $2 million to running programs to get 500,000 kids running by 2010. ING has also created a special charitable fund to encourage others to support the cause by making their own contribution. When someone donates $10 or more to the ING Run for Something Better, ING will recognize their contribution by giving them a special pair of orange shoelaces to wear showing that they are “tied” to supporting kids’ fitness. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of orange laces go to the ING Run for Something Better fitness programs. For more information about the orange laces, go to www.orangelaces.com.

About the ING New York City Marathon

The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 100,000 applicants. The race attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and 315 million worldwide television viewers. As any one of the more than 700,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime. For more information, visit www.ingnycmarathon.org.