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Camille Herron, Mirna Valerio kick off first-ever women’s 6-day race

Lululemon's FURTHER 6-day race will see 10 women, including inclusivity activist Stefanie Flippin and ultra-distance world-record-holder Camille Herron, chasing time and distance-based records

Further ultramarathon athletes Photo by: lululemon

On Wednesday, 10 renowned ultra-distance runners will begin racing in circles in a 6-day ultra, part of Lululemon’s FURTHER initiative, which the brand says is dedicated to “showcasing just how far women can go with support and access to resources and product innovations typically reserved for men.” The diverse group of athletes, including world-record-holder Camille Herron, will “attempt to run the furthest distance of their careers” on a certified looped course in La Quinta, California, chasing both time and distance-based records.

During a 6-day event, runners can take breaks to eat, sleep or accept aid from their crew (off of the track) at any point, and aren’t required to be run a set time or distance per day—time spent resting will be unique to each athlete and will depend on their individual needs and goals.

Lululemon collaborated with the racers, all from the brand’s global ambassador collective, to create gear to support runners during multi-day races. The women provided insight that, combined with research, helped in the creation of 36 new products, tailored to meet the specific needs of runners during multi-day races. The collaboration includes a special edition of the beyondfeel women’s running shoe, released to the public on Wednesday.

Nikki Neuburger, chief brand officer at Lululemon, emphasized the brand’s commitment to closing the historical gap that has left women overlooked and underserved in athletics: “When supported with innovation and resources, we are confident women will continue to redefine the limits of what’s possible. This is the motivation and purpose behind our FURTHER initiative.”

Lululemon launching six-day ultramarathon for women in 2024

The athletes

The FURTHER roster includes athletes from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom have stated different goals for the race. Herron, who is the women’s world 48-hour record holder, has a goal of breaking the men’s 6-day world record of 1,036.8 km, set by Greek ultrarunning legend Yiannis Kouros in 2005. “I want to be the first woman to break a men’s World Record in running. FURTHER will make it possible,” Herron says on the Lululemon website.

“As we close in on FURTHER, my focus is not on the finish line but every moment in the making of this,” fellow competitor Devon Yanko wrote on Instagram pre-race. Yanko was the 2022 Javelina Jundred champion and took second at Grindstone by UTMB in 2023, and has openly shared her struggles with lupus and Hashimoto’s disease in recent years. “It is finally time to go explore my potential,” she said.

FURTHER competitors

Montana Farrah-Seaton
Stefanie Flippin
Camille Herron
Kayla Jeter
Xiaomeng Jia
Yoon Young Kang
Vriko Kwok
Mirna Valerio
Devon Yanko
Leah Yingling

An emphasis on scientific research

In collaboration with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and its academic research network, Lululemon will delve into questions surrounding women’s ultrarunning, such as fatigue resistance and the physiological effects of a 6-day race. The company will also contribute more than $2 million to the Girls Opportunity Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation focused on empowering adolescent girls globally through education and well-being tools.

Lululemon explains on its website that one motivation behind FURTHER was a recent audit of select sport science and sports medicine journals, that found that only four per cent to 13 per cent of published studies were female-only. Canadian elite coach and physiologist Trent Stellingwerff, a recent guest of Canadian Running‘s own The Shakeout Podcast, is a senior advisor of research and development at the Canadian Sport Institute, and says “My primary goal for FURTHER is to characterize the energetic demands of females in the most extreme conditions we’ve ever had over 6 days.” Stellingwerff is also the subject of an in-depth profile in the March/April 2024 issue of Canadian Running, on newsstands now.

Lululemon’s website explains that they will be seeking to answer questions like: “Do female ultrarunners have more fatigue resistance? What are the physiological limits of female energy expenditure?”—things that have never been studied before at this scale.

To learn more FURTHER or to track the athletes during the race, head here.

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