Dec. 16 2022 08:00 AM

King Brothers Dairy developed a custom label chocolate milk for the runners to refuel.

Schuylerville, N.Y., dairy farmers Jan and Pandora King show off their specially labelled chocolate milk that marathon runners refueled with.

In early November, the American Dairy Association North East joined forces with the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) to support 3,543 women from 46 states who joined #TeamMilk to run the New York City Marathon. By signing up for #TeamMilk, runners were reminded that “You’re Gonna Need Milk for That” and scored #TeamMilk gear, a free stretching session, a photo opportunity that showed them on NYC bus stops and billboards in real time, and a ticket to the Chocolate Milk Recovery Lounge.

What exactly was the Chocolate Milk Recovery Lounge? Aside from offering a clean space to relax after their 26.2 mile run and meet friends and family, we offered chocolate milk to the runners, of course! Chocolate milk is the perfect sports refueling beverage with its golden ratio of carbs to protein that helps rehydrate bodies, repair muscles, and replenish energy after exercising.

But the runners weren’t given just any chocolate milk. MilkPEP asked King Brothers Dairy in Schuylerville, N.Y., to develop a special label for 5,000 bottles of their 1% chocolate milk for the runners’ recovery. Jan and Pandora King joined runners in the lounge area to help them refuel and to celebrate their achievements.

The bottles reminded runners that chocolate milk is a great tool to replenish the body after exercise.
“The NYC Marathon was an incredible event where women athletes connected with Team Milk, MilkPEP, and local dairy farmers and processors like us for a winning combination,” said Jan King. “It was an honor to provide the perfect product for them to refuel with after completing 26.2 miles – what an accomplishment!”

Additionally, just before the 24th mile of the run, a notoriously tough part of the course, #TeamMilk had a cheer tunnel to boost its athletes with signs, cowbells, and a promise of free chocolate milk at the end of the race.

We worked with local media to pitch the #TeamMilk story, and this resulted in extensive coverage from six different news outlets. In addition, we placed media stories on lifestyle shows featuring registered dietitian and runner Stevie Lyn Smith promoting the campaign and providing nutrition tips to runners backing chocolate milk as an ideal recovery beverage. The efforts resulted in 27 news placements, 230,000 traditional news impressions, and 3.4 million online impressions.

To add to the excitement, MilkPEP matched the registration fees of those who signed up for #TeamMilk to support Girls on the Run, a national grassroots organization that empowers adolescent girls to be active and stay healthy. MilkPEP was able to present more than $600,000 to the organization to support the program.

Runners enjoyed a place to rest and refuel in the Chocolate Milk Recovery Lounge after completing their 26.2-mile journey.
“Being a part of such a monumental event like the New York City Marathon gave milk a national stage to tout its health benefits to the perfect audience,” said ADA North East CEO John Chrisman. “We’re fortunate to have great dairy farmers like the Kings and great partners like MilkPEP to make opportunities like this possible.”

Jean Kummer

Jean Kummer is the industry communications specialist for American Dairy Association North East.