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Former professional long-distance runner Brian Maxwell used grass-roots marketing in 1986 to launch PowerBar, the No. 1 brand in the fast-growing energy bar category. This month, he took integrated marketing to a new level with the first PowerBar CEO Challenge, winning two out of three races against other CEOs in conjunction with the Chase Corporate Challenge races.

Age: 44.

Title: founder, president and CEO of Powerfoods, Berkeley, Calif.

Insight: Athlete endorsement of products based on genuine function and performance is the most powerful form of sports marketing that exists.

Opinion: College football is a better buy than an NFL sponsorship. Smaller is often better in today's cluttered marketplace.

Forecast: Baseball will never be the national pastime again. MLB is the department store of sports right now. It needs a tighter, more passionate focus and niche-based thinking from its leaders.

Biggest surprise: Our failure with miniature PowerBars. They're now being relaunched in a different form.

Tip: Even if you rule your industry, never assume you're safe. Never stop promoting.

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