Hundred-mile and 12-hour world record holder Camille Herron of Oklahoma City, Okla. ended speculation about her new sponsor with Wednesday’s announcement that she has joined forces with the running and yoga brand Lululemon. The runner recently announced that she would be sponsored by a company that is new to the ultratrail space in 2023. “It feels like a dream come true,” Herron told us after a week spent at the brand’s Portland, Ore. facilities.
Herron is the first and only woman to achieve sub-13 hours for 100 miles, 150 km for 12 hours and 270 km over 24 hours, and she won the 90-km Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 2017. She reached 100,000 lifetime miles in 2022. She was formerly sponsored by Hoka.
Herron says she’s most excited for the support she’s received beyond her athletic ability: “It means a lot to me that they appreciate my human qualities beyond my athletic talents,” she says. “My professional background is in science and research, and they recognized how I can help the brand with my scientific knowledge. I’m a cerebral person–I’m more than an ultrarunner. It spoke to my heart that Lululemon recognized this. They seemed to know more about me than I knew about myself! I was blown away.”
Herron is excited to be partnering with Lululemon because of their track record as a brand that has women front and centre, and she joins a long list of other female Lululemon-sponsored runners, including Colleen Quigley, Mirna Valerio and Tara Davis Woodhall. “I feel a sense of women’s empowerment joining with them,” Herron says. “They believe in me and support me, and they care about the whole human. They’ve been asking me about my mental health and wellbeing, and I thought that was really cool–I’ve never been asked about that. I’ve connected with someone to help me with my mental and emotional health, and how I manage stress.”
“Last year at Western States, I started my period after the Forest Hill aid station, and I shared that, and it resonated with a lot of women. Sharing my journey, my athletic career in my 40s–that’s pretty much unheard of. It’s really cool for me to have Lululmeon’s support. I’m very grateful.”
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Herron’s excited about Lululemon’s running clothing: “We’ve been having fun mixing and matching that top [the Invigorate Training Tank] with shorts. I really like old-school split shorts, and Lululemon has that. I imagine myself being a unicorn or a superhero, mixing and matching Wonder-Woman-type colours. We’re bringing back colour to the sport!”
She is also impressed with their socks, and their run bras: “Being an ultrarunner, I spend a lot of time on my feet,” says Herron. “To be able to take off my socks after a run, and my feet are dry and my toes are in good shape, is huge. “I also love how they put pockets in everything.”
She’s also impressed with the brand’s efforts to produce high-quality running shoes, even if shoes appropriate for very long days on the road, track or trail remain a work in progress. “Me being a science person, I can offer a lot of feedback on developing their shoes,” Herron says. “It’s such a great opportunity to collaborate. We’ve had lots of meetings–I’ve been to the company headquarters in Vancouver and met the shoe people; all the products are incredible, and I’m excited to bring them to the ultratrail community.”
Goals for 2023
Herron is excited for the future: “I feel so blessed to be 41 and still getting faster,” she says, adding that she’s grateful for the brand’s support. “This is a long-term commitment, not only for my athletic career but also helping them with product development. I’m going to be continuing my focus on world records, try to improve some of them, and also go further; I want to go for the 48-hour and 6-day records; I’m hoping I have the opportunity this year to go beyond 24 hours.”
This summer, however, she’ll be focused on trails, with Western States in June and Leadville (another 100-mile trail race) in August. “Every time I show up at Western States, I get a bit better,” she says.
On Feb. 18, Herron plans to challenge her own world records for 100 miles and 12 hours at The Raven in Mount Pleasant, S.C. She will also plan to qualify for the 24-hour world championship in Taiwan, which takes place in December 2023.