HOWL Colorado

Footwear company sets up man vs. wolf race… man “wins”

In a race, sponsored by Timberland, billed as “are you fast or food?” its the wolves who came off looking smart.

Shoe manufacturer Timberland set up a race to promote their eco-friendly line of shoes which had English rugby star, Ben Cohen, facing off against a wolf.

The race, which took place at the historic Wembley Stadium, drew much criticism from animal rights advocates due mainly to the tagline “are you fast or food?”

Obviously, wolves are significantly faster than humans. The race was set up to give the human, professional athlete Cohen, a chance. A short 40 meter course and, more importantly, an interest in reaching the finish lines.

The first wolf, described as a “60kg Canadian Timber Wolf,” was named, prosaically, Rover. Rover was more interested in sniffing, scratching and jogging around. While this amused onlookers, Cohen crossed the line in three seconds. They tried a number of times to get the wolf’s attention. A trot was about as much effort as the wolf deemed the “pursuit” worthy.

This is pretty typical wolf behavior. Socialized wolves are still wolves, and food is often the only way to temporarily draw their attention. Ben Cohen was apparantly not considered food by the wolf, putting the tagline in some serious doubt and reinforcing dangerous stereotypes.

Two attempts was all poor Rover got – presumably the inside of the custom-made racing track was probably suitably investigated, so I am sure he was satisfied with his day’s work. Monty is brought in as the ferocious new competitor.

Monty seemed more interested in the promotional signs. Cohen started jogging to the finish line himself as it became clear that the wolves were barely aware of his existance, let alone the need to race him. It took 30 minutes to finally give up.

So, to be fair, Cohen now can claim – based on the race results – that he is faster than a wolf. And being food was certainly not a concern.

“Well, I’ll say faster than a wolf which can only be bothered to jog!” Cohen told British independent sports site – – when asked about being “officially faster than a wolf.”

It is sad that a good product, such as eco-friendly footware, is promoted with such a poorly conceived marketing plan.

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