Administrative note: I'm in a giveaway frame of mind lately, so the next few weekday posts will all include some kind of giveaway offer. As luck would have it, today's post involves two.
Just before this post went to press, my contact person at Pearl Izumi wrote to ask if I could help spread the word on a killer cycling gear contest they have going on this week in conjunction with the US Pro Cycling Challenge, with a grand prize of $2000 worth of Pearl Izumi gear. Awesome, right? The whole thing is being conducted through PI's YouTube channel, which is where you need to go for all the details. So check out the PI contest over there, then come back for the Marathon Bar contest here.
Back in June, I was invited to stop by one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon events to check out the new versions of Marathon energy and protein bars. The bars have been around for a while, but the company has stepped up its involvement in endurance sports this year, becoming an official sponsor of the entire Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon series taking place at multiple venues across the country.
However, thanks to ultrarunning, my own participation in road racing events has diminished quite dramatically over the past few years, and it was going to take a lot more than the prospect of a snappy marketing spiel and a few free samples to get me to attend a Rock ‘n’ Roll race. When I politely declined the invitation, the Marathon rep offered to send me a gift package anyway, and agreed to provide the same thing for a few lucky readers.
Obviously, that kind of partnership is a lot easier for me to support. So let’s run through a brief review, with a giveaway contest to follow once we’re finished.
The Marathon Bar product lineup includes five flavors of energy bars, and two flavors of high protein bars. I received samples of two energy bar flavors – crunchy dark chocolate and crunchy honey and toasted almond – as well as both protein bar flavors, caramel nut rush and chocolatey nut burst. The energy bars range in calories from 150 to 220 each, and contain 10 to 14g of protein. The high-protein bars have 21g and 290 calories for chocolatey nut, and 20g/280 calories for caramel nut. All of the bars are low glycemic index foods to help provide sustained energy, and contain essential vitamins to enhance their nutritional profile.
From a taste standpoint, my preference was for the energy bars, which have a crisper texture as well as some non-chocolate flavors. (Here’s a strange thing: I love chocolate, but typically don’t like chocolate-flavored energy foods, gels, or anything else I might consume while active. I have no idea why.) The protein bars are both quite chewy, with a taste and texture that isn’t very far removed from a candy bar – basically, they’re like better-for-you, nutritionally fortified Snickers bars.
In our household, the standard for energy bars has been set fairly high: as I’ve described in several posts, we’re an entire family of CLIF junkies. Using that comparison, there wasn’t anything from a taste or performance standpoint about the Marathon energy bar to make me switch from using regular CLIF Bars, and there wasn’t anything to make my wife switch from her Builder’s Bars to the high-protein Marathon versions. However, we recognize that our individual preferences may vary from yours, which is why it’s nice to be able to offer a few samples you can try for yourself.
Actually, the giveaway includes more than just energy bars; Marathon Bar will provide three winners with a prize pack (see below), including a tote bag, a tech fabric shirt, and a cool little portable chair that’s great for taking to the beach or youth sports games. You’ll also get the same samples of energy bars and protein bars that I tested for this review.
To enter the contest, just leave a comment below this post; on Saturday, I’ll randomly select three winners to receive a prize package from Marathon Bar. If you happen to be at one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll events this year, you can stop by the Marathon Bar booth for samples, or if you want more information about their involvement in the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, check out their Facebook page.
Thanks very much to Marathon Bar for sponsoring this giveaway, and good luck to everyone!
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