Ad’s mystery M100 WR holder inspired by marathoner Fauja Singh?

Singh is shown at top and vague runner (centenarian or not?) is in bottom shot used in the Athletic Greens story.

Singh is shown at top and vague runner (centenarian or not?) is in bottom shot used in the Athletic Greens story.

This headline caught my eye: A 101 Year Old Marathon Runner Discovered The Secret Behind Limitless Energy!!! The advertisement, disguised as a news story, carries a picture of a tanned, balding older gent running toward you, green hills in the background. But the text provides no name of the centenarian. Just clues: “What was more incredible was that only 3 days prior he had set 5 new world records (for his age) in different running races ranging from the 400 yard dash to the 10,000 meters.” Sound familiar? Maybe our esteemed Fauja Singh? In 2011, Ontario masters track officials reported Singh had set eight M100 records. Of course, WMA refused to ratify the records, and Doug Smith in Ontario tells me it was for lack of proof of age. “Kind of discriminates against a guy from India – where Birth Certificates may have been hard to come by 100 years ago,” Doug wrote me this week. But the ad for a multivitamin called Athletic Greens argued that the 101-year-old runner dude ate “a certain combination of foods, [which] helped give him boundless energy. … [a] combination of broccoli, green tea extract and spirulina [increased] his energy levels dramatically.” Oh no! Not another superfood pitch!

It took me back to May 1997, when I feasted on a product called SBGA — Super Blue-Green Algae. Also known as pond scum. Feasted as in dished skepticism.

I wrote back then:

I’m sure a lot of wonderful people sincerely believe they’re doing good by selling Oregon lake algae. I’m also sure that many people are swallowing the advertising claims whole — and not even bothering to scope out the competition. CellTech isn’t the only producer of blue-green algae.

Before you sink hundreds of dollars into an algae diet — or spare $32 to become a distributor — ask yourself this final question: If SBGA is the answer to mankind’s health needs, why isn’t it free? How dare CellTech charge for something it KNOWS will save millions of lives (and help you win lots of T&F medals)!

So here we go again with Athletic Greens.

But first I had a question: Who is the unnamed 101-year-old marathoner cited in the Athletic Greens pitch?

So I wrote the company and got this reply:

Thank you for your recent email to our Customer Happiness Team.

We understand you would like us to reveal the name of the 101 year old marathon runner. Unfortunately, we do not have that information on hand. The identity of the runner has not been disclosed to us so we are unable to provide you with an answer.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

If you have further questions or are in need of any assistance, always feel free to send us an email at support@athleticgreens.com. You can also call our Customer Happiness Team at +1-702-998-3337, and a friendly member of our staff will be more than happy to assist you. We are available Monday through Friday, 9am to 8pm EST. https://www.athleticgreens.com.

Have a fabulous day!

Warmest regards,
Dreama

When I wrote back, sharing a link about Mr. Singh, I got this response:

Thank you for sending the link to that interesting page. It is very inspiring that people can possess such motivation at any age. Sorry we could not be more helpful.

If you have further questions or are in need of any assistance, always feel free to send us an email at support@athleticgreens.com. You can also call our Customer Happiness Team at +1-702-998-3337, and a friendly member of our staff will be more than happy to assist you. We are available Monday through Friday, 9am to 8pm EST. https://www.athleticgreens.com.

Have a fabulous day!

Warmest regards,
Dreama

Dreama? C’mon, you can do better than that. Is your last name Foreva?

I found other skeptics of Athletic Greens, some even suggesting it’s a scam site, with a product that users have to gag down. At least one reviewer sings its praises, but his credibility is compromised because of all the ads for Athletic Greens plastered on his blog.

In September, a blogger summarized Athletic Greens thusly:

Made from 75 natural foods, Athletic Greens contains probiotics and digestive enzymes to maximize nutrient absorption. After 10 years of research, Athletic Greens was formulated to deliver essential nutrients in an easy to mix, great tasting supplement powder.

Free from gluten, wheat, dairy, animal products, eggs, GMOs, additives, and preservatives, Athletic Greens is a natural fit for any type of diet. Providing over 8 grams of superfood nutrients per serving, Athletic Greens provides an alkaline boost that encourages health and balances the body’s pH level.

Made primarily of plants, herbs, mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, and probiotics, each serving of Athletic Greens provides the antioxidant equivalent of 12 servings of fruits and vegetables. This massive dose of antioxidants prevents damage caused by free radicals while boosting immune function.

The blogger linked to a respectable-looking site called Health News Wires, which said of Athletic Greens:

After further consideration Athletic Greens is no longer a product we recommend.  Although it is a quality greens product it is extremely overpriced at $77 a month.  There are alternatives to Athletic Greens that you can get at supermarkets such as Whole Foods.  We have been currently testing a product from Whole Foods called Amazing Grass which is a green superfood drink available for less than half the cost of Athletic Greens. 

I haven’t even bothered to look at Athletic Greens ingredients, and their potential for running afoul of anti-doping rules. Supplements like these are notorious for harboring PEDs.

Anyway, for sake of parody posterity, here’s the original “news story”:

It was brisk September morning and after months of training, I finally felt ready to run my very first marathon. As I was walking towards the start line I felt a rush of nervous energy and anticipation because I knew I was about to take on the toughest physical challenge of my life.

After weaving my way through the crowd to get close to the start line, I found myself a nice little spot where I could do some stretches and warm up my legs a little.

As I was stretching I glanced over my left shoulder and saw a man arching his back and pointing his chest towards the sky. He was a lot shorter than me and a bit more weathered but we struck up a conversation and amazingly after a few minutes of chatting I found out that I was actually talking to the oldest marathon runner on the planet.

I remember our conversation like it was yesterday.

He was soft spoken and he was brimming with energy. He told me that he just turned 101 years old and that this would be his 10th marathon.

I was in awe.

I was 45 years old and I had just met someone more than double my age who was about to put his body through more pain and more stress than I could possibly imagine.

What was more incredible was that only 3 days prior he had set 5 new world records (for his age) in different running races ranging from the 400 yard dash to the 10,000 meters.

I was truly dumbstruck.

Here I was, a middle aged guy trying desperately to keep fit as a way to cope with stress (and my ever expanding waist line while) and this 101 year old guy was running marathons and had energy to burn.

What’s your secret I asked him?

He looked at me puzzled.

While he slowly raised his hand over his head and bent to the side to stretch his hip, he told me that a long time ago he discovered that eating a certain combination of foods helped give him boundless energy.

I was skeptical.

But I looked again at this 101 year old man who was getting ready to do his 10 marathon, and my disbelief slowly faded.

What? Can you say that again? I asked him.

He told me that years ago he discovered that when he ate a combination of broccoli, green tea extract and spirulina his energy levels dramatically increased.

He didn’t know why, or how, he just knew that he felt great and that now he never went a day without eating this magic combination of superfoods.

I can still remember his face and how his eyes lit up when he was telling me this.

After a few more stretches and general chit chat we both took off our tracksuits and started the race. My new found 101 year old friend finished the marathon in a respectable 5.5 hours and I hobbled across the line in just over 6.

After the race and the adrenalin died down I found myself thinking about the conversation I had with this guy at the start line.

How could it be possible that a simple combination of foods could give a

101 year old guy enough energy to run a marathon?

I needed more answers so it was time to do some research.

After plowing through hundreds of websites, research papers and medial journals I found a scientific study that backed up this guy’s extraordinary finding.

A research team in New Zealand found that when you combine these 3 magic ingredients something incredible happens.

The researchers found that when specific quantities of these foods are combined… the enzymes in your digestive track start to absorb more of the nutrients from the food you already eat.

Amazing.

And so simple as well.

It’s so obvious that if your body can absorb more of your nutrients from the food you already eat….. of course you will have lots more energy.

So then began my search to try and find if any places actually made a drink, or a powder or anything that had this magic combination of ingredients.

I wanted a powder or a ready made drink as I couldn’t see myself blending these foods together every day.

After some more surfing the web I came across a company called Athletic Greens.

I dug into who Athletic Greens were, what they stood for, and whether or not their product worked.

I found that Athletic Greens uses over 75 vegetables and had been specially formulated with broccoli, green tea extract and spirulina in order to maximize nutrient absorption.

The founder is also from New Zealand (and used to train celebrities) so I guess he has seen this research.

I had to try it.

I didn’t care about the cost so I happily paid the $97…. because if this product worked…it would be an absolute bargain.

After a few days of anxiously waiting by the mailbox for my Athletic Greens, it finally arrived.

I opened it immediately and put one tea spoon of the powder into a cup of water, stirred it round and drank it down.

It tasted sweet and and refreshing – not at all what I was expecting.

After finishing the glass I was expecting miracles straight away.

But nothing happened…. So I waited.

And then waited some more.

I drank one glass of Athletic Greens each morning for 5 days and I didn’t notice any changes.

But then on day 6…I noticed a shift.

Somehow I no longer felt tired. My joints felt better and I felt like I could run through walls.I had not felt like this in years.

I felt I had my youth back and that I could conquer the world.

I sat down for a minute and gathered my thoughts. I remembered the day when I first met that 101 year old marathon runner and what he said to me about this magic combination of superfoods.

And after only 6 days of taking Athletic Greens, I believed every word he told me.

Now, it’s been over 6 months since I first started drinking Athletic Greens– and I still feel great and my energy levels remain sky high.

Not surprisingly Athletic Greens has been getting a lot of press lately because best selling fitness authors like Tim Ferriss and world champion athletes are constantly promoting and using this amazing product.

Anyway I am really glad you have read this far, because I know at the moment Athletic Greens has a marketing special on and for the next few weeks you can try Athletic Greens for 21 days. Risk Free.

This means you DON’T have to pay the regular $97 price tag (which everyone still else still has to pay) and all you have to do is pay a small shipping and handling fee.

If you’re anything like me, you ‘re probably really skeptical about any product that promises the world.

But the great thing with this free trial is that you can discover for yourself whether Athletic Greens is the real deal. I assure you it is.

Try it for yourself. Risk Free.

Plus if you don’t notice a big surge in your energy during your 21 day risk free trial… simply email support@athleticgreens.com to cancel your order. It’s that simple. You truly have no risk.

So give it a try.

When was the last time you were able to try a product worth over $100 risk free? This truly is a great deal.

When you click the button below you will be taken to their order page where you simply enter your details.

Just remember it’s risk free and you’ll be amazed at the results that Athletic Greens can bring you.

Best,

Robbie.

No clue on who “Robbie” is. No idea when or where the race took place. No name of the marathoner.

Story appears to have lifted elements of the Singh story but not enough to yield a lawsuit. After all, Singh could ask for money if he could prove his story was being used for commercial gain.

Singh has retired, BTW, according to this story in The Guardian.

And the photo with the story? It could be the 101-year-old or the middle-aged author. Very slick.

And the site where the curious story appears? All the yarns are blurbs for Athletic Greens. People behind this are based in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to domain registration records.

But don’t bother clicking on the Contact page. Here’s what you’ll see:

Contact page for health1st.com, where Athletic Greens is promoted via stories.

Contact page for health1st.com, where Athletic Greens is promoted.

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November 5, 2013

3 Responses

  1. Peter Taylor - November 6, 2013

    Ken, I have seen similar ads using a photo of the Canadian sensation Ed Whitlock, who is 82 or thereabouts. As I recall, the ad portrayed Ed as being 100 years old. I have also seen such an ad showing a bald bodybuilder.

  2. Joseph Burleson - November 6, 2013

    Those who take such products might be interested in the recent NYTimes article which summarizes some recent studies reporting on genetic analyses of the contents of a large number of herbal products. An extremely large number of them contained only rice, weeds (often from some third-world country, from which the products might be assumed to have originated) and other innocuous vegetable matter or (less than innocuous) animal waste products. Psychologists have done many studies over the decades using both placebo and real products, each purporting to produce higher energy, performance, or well-being. No legitimate study has ever shown their effectiveness. So, let the buyer/user/true believer beware. My impression: athletes who are (a) very talented and/or (b) very healthy, and/or (c) work extremely hard at their sport do better than others.

  3. TK - January 2, 2014

    I am so dumbfounded. I read this entire Ada and found such similar stories. Actually, the same stories just written or supposedly written by different individuals, read the excepts below! I have read the exact same story 4 times now!!! I mean really!!!
    “This means you DON’T have to pay the regular $97 price tag (which everyone still else still has to pay) and all you have to do is pay small shipping and handling fee.’
    After a few days of anxiously waiting by the mailbox for my Athletic Greens, it finally arrived.
    I opened it immediately and put one tea spoon of the powder into a cup of water, stirred it round and drank it down.
    It tasted sweet and and refreshing – not at all what I was expecting.
    After finishing the glass I was expecting miracles straight away.
    But nothing happened…. So I waited.
    And then waited some more.
    I drank one glass of Athletic Greens each morning for 5 days and I didn’t notice any changes.
    But then on day 6…I noticed a shift.

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