Woody Creek man lands on water bottle
July 15, 2009
ASPEN – Marcus Scarth’s zeal for the outdoors took him to the top of the world. It also landed him on a sports drink bottle.
Earlier this year, the 39-year-old from Woody Creek was contacted by officials from owater, a sports beverage manufacturer. It was interested in having Scarth take part in its new marketing campaign, which spotlights the country’s amateur athletes – everyone from skydivers and basketball players to surf instructors and female football players – on its labels.
Now, bottles bearing Scarth’s likeness line the shelves and drink coolers at City Market, The Butcher’s Block and Ink! Coffee.
“There might be some left – they’ve been picked through by my friends,” Scarth joked Tuesday. “I told my brother, and he didn’t believe me until I sent him a bottle.
“This is something you never think can happen. … It’s surreal.”
Scarth seemed like a natural fit for the campaign, said Amy Mueller, spokeswoman for the Concord, Mass.-based company, which markets a variety of infused waters. Scarth is not only an outdoor enthusiast, but also a sales representative for a Colorado distributor that works with owater.
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The company has sponsored Scarth’s 24 Hours of Sunlight teams.
“Because we are a relatively small company, we do a lot of grassroots marketing at road races, triathlons, etc. … It occurred to us that the most authentic way to tell the owater story to consumers was actually by sharing the stories of the healthy, active people that were using the product,” Mueller wrote in an e-mail to The Aspen Times on Tuesday.
“We’ve known Marcus for a while now … We were pretty inspired by all his adventurous pursuits.”
Those pursuits include paragliding and countless backcountry excursions, plus a successful summit of 23,000-foot Lhakpa Ri in the Himalayas three and a half years ago.
There was also May’s conquest of Everest alongside friend and fellow valley resident Steve Wraith. They snowboarded part of the way down from 25,000 feet – on a 55-degree pitch littered with blue ice.
The trip was the fulfillment of a goal Scarth said first surfaced when he was growing up in Scotland.
“People came to school when I was 8 and did a lecture on Everest,” he said. “I don’t know [what it was]. I remember the pictures were quite amazing. … When I saw the Marolts’ movie [about high-altitude skiing], we decided we could pull it off.”
Scarth is already planning a 2013 excursion. He’ll either tackle K2, the world’s second-tallest mountain, or return to Everest to climb with Sir Edmund Hillary’s granddaughter. The idea of sailing to Antarctica and then scaling 16,067-foot Vinson Massif has also been broached.
Friends don’t want to discuss future plans, however. They’d rather talk about the new owater bottles.
“They’ve been making fun of me,” Scarth joked. “They say I look like I’m old and fat on the label. I’m taking a little bit of abuse.”
The honor far outweighs the good-natured ribbing, Scarth contended.
“For me it was like ‘Wow. Sure you can use [my face], no problem,'” he added. “It blew me away. It was a total surprise. … I’m just a normal athlete. I just suffer a little bit more than the average person.”