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General News, Women

lululemon Launches FURTHER Ultramarathon to Push Human Limits this IWD

Edelman 4 mins read

VANCOUVER, CANADA – lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU), as part of its FURTHER initiative aimed at showcasing just how far women can go with support and access to resources and product innovations typically reserved for men, today unveiled new products developed with and for the female athletes competing in the brand’s first-ever women’s ultramarathon.

 

Products designed for the six-day ultramarathon, which begins March 6 just ahead of International Women’s Day, were co-created with 10 female athletes from the brand’s global ambassador collective to ensure their unique needs would be addressed on the course.

 

The 36 new innovations consider situational and always-on functions needed for a multi-day race all shaped by athlete insights and backed by research. Several products also include features to help the runners stay cool and store items they need during the race. A special edition colourway of beyondfeel, the brand’s latest running shoe and a featured piece of the FURTHER athlete kits, will launch online for guests globally starting today, March 5, in markets with lululemon footwear.

 

“Women have historically been overlooked and underserved in athletics, and as a brand committed to helping all people feel their best, we have a responsibility to create more equity for our communities by investing to close this gap,” said Nikki Neuburger, Chief Brand Officer, lululemon. “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.”

 

The design collaboration with female athletes underscores the brand’s continued commitment to supporting women with research, innovations, and resources they’ve long been denied, to help them unlock greater possibilities. The 10 athletes inspire the communities they represent, have a unique running story, and expressed the desire to pursue a bold goal. Ambassadors will attempt to run the furthest distance of their careers in the race that will occur on a certified looped course at Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta, California, with the opportunity to set distance and time-based world records. This includes the chance to exceed the men’s six-day world record which would mark the first time a woman sets the current overall ultrarunning distance world record.

 

Participating ambassadors from around the world include:

  • Montana Farrah-Seaton (Age: 27): Ultrarunner, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Model
  • Stefanie Flippin (Age: 34): Coach and Ultrarunner, BIPOC Advocate, Doctor
  • Camille Herron (Age: 42): Ultrarunner, World Record Holder
  • Kayla Jeter (Age: 34): Runner, Strength & Wellness Coach
  • Xiaomeng Jia (Age: 38): Marathon Runner, Entrepreneur
  • Yoon Young Kang (Age: 44): Ultrarunner, Judo Black Belt, Joy Seeker
  • Vriko Kwok (Age: 32): Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Athlete, Runner, Entrepreneur
  • Mirna Valerio (Age: 48): Ultrarunner, Author, Adventurer
  • Devon Yanko (Age: 41): Ultrarunner, Coach & Mentor, Food Entrepreneur

 

  • Leah Yingling (Age: 32): Ultrarunner, Biomedical Engineer, Women’s Advocate

Running Innovations to Take Athletes Further

The collaboration with the featured runners helped lululemon create products that can not only help them but also be of use to others. The designs also factored in research insights tied to improving performance and extending running duration, such as the role of compression and cooling.

 

“Our ambassadors shared what they needed for a multi-day race, and we knew we could create something that hasn’t been seen in the sport,” said Chantelle Murnaghan, Vice President, Research and Product Innovation, lululemon. “These innovations were designed to solve the real problems these athletes and many women runners experience. By understanding their holistic needs and using our research insights, we engineered bespoke kits that meet their physical and emotional needs so they can unlock their potential.”

 

Key designs include:

 

  • beyondfeel Women’s Running Shoe – Shaped by guest insights and validated by FURTHER athletes to redefine how comfortable and supportive a running shoe can feel, this was built off a unique last that was informed by the shape of the female foot.
    • New supercritical foam offers a cushioned feel and softer heel-to-toe glide, and a ventilated mesh that stretches and supports each step.
    • Special edition colourway was created for athlete kits and now available online here, with comparable men’s running shoe here.
  • Support Code Bra – A high-support running bra with a minimalist, chafe-free construction. Through its advanced make, technology, and material, this sports bra unlocks a new sensory experience for a barely there feeling. Runners can move comfortably while feeling supported and without restriction. Formally launches to the public in Fall 2024. A bespoke version was created for the athletes with an added storage feature, made with a proprietary construction, to hold running essentials like hydration and nutrition.
  • Runsie – Inspired by the opportunity to evolve the women’s ultra uniform, it fuses performance with aesthetic. It does this through a comfortable on-body feel, 360-degree waistband storage, unique design and construction at the back and waist to simplify bathroom breaks, legwear split for range of motion, and other intentional product benefits.
  • Cooling apparel and accessories – Designed to prioritize cooling functionality and elevate performance, the Running Ice Vest has a women-first design, storage features, and delivers targeted cooling informed by scientific research and insights.
    • Other innovations include an ice tank, UV cooling ice sleeves, and cooling headwear.

 

Continued Research into Unmet Needs

lululemon's scientific research program, led by the brand’s internal research team and operated in partnership with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and lululemon’s academic research network, will continue during and after the race to better understand human performance by advancing women’s- first research and helping close the sex and gender data gap in sports science.

 

The ongoing research will dive deep into topical questions such as whether female ultrarunners have superior fatigue resistance compared to males, and will study areas that haven’t been explored such as the lived experiences of women ultrarunners and the physiological and biomechanical effects of six days of running. All findings will be published over the next two years, with initial findings to be published in

 

the Fall of 2024. Takeaways will serve as a catalyst for additional research on female and women athletes and inform lululemon’s pipeline of women-first innovations.

 

Partnering with Girls Opportunity Alliance

lululemon is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent access to wellbeing and partners with organizations that share a similar mission. Through the lululemon Centre for Social Impact, the brand is making an additional $1.5 million USD contribution to the Girls Opportunity Alliance.

 

Girls Opportunity Alliance is a program of the Obama Foundation focused on empowering adolescent girls globally through education and wellbeing tools, allowing them to achieve their full potential. Too often, girls around the world face barriers to pursuing their education and their dreams. Investing in adolescent girls positively impacts their families, communities, and countries. The Centre for Social Impact will have contributed over $5 million USD since 2021 to advancing the program’s work globally.

 

For more information on FURTHER, the lululemon Ambassadors taking on this feat, and to track the athletes' distances throughout the ultramarathon, visit https://www.lululemon.com/further.


Contact details:

lululemonanz@edelman.com

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