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What We Know about Further, Lululemon’s Secretive, Women’s Only Six-Day Ultramarathon

The centrepiece of the FURTHER initiative, which was announced one year ago, begins Friday

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Last year, athletic apparel giant Lululemon launched FURTHER, an initiative to support and report female-centered scientific research on athletes and performance. The centerpiece of this program? A grueling six-day ultramarathon slated to kick off on March 8, 2024 – International Women’s Day.

What We Know about Further, Lululemon's Secretive, Women's Only Six-Day Ultramarathon 1
Photo Credit: Lululemon

What Is A Six Day Race?

A 6-day race in running is an ultramarathon event where participants aim to cover as much distance as possible within a span of six days.

These races typically take place on a loop course, often a track or a measured route, where runners continuously run for the duration of the event. Participants have the freedom to stop and rest, eat, or sleep as needed during the race, but the clock keeps running.

The winner is the runner who covers the greatest distance within the allotted time frame. These races require extreme endurance, mental toughness, and strategic planning to maximize distance while managing fatigue and recovery.

What We Know about Further, Lululemon's Secretive, Women's Only Six-Day Ultramarathon 2
Photo Credit: Lululemon

What Is The Goal Of The Lululemon Ultra?

The FURTHER Ultramarathon isn’t just another race; it’s a collective of ten diverse female athletes looking to understand their limitations, uncover athletic potential, and realize the boundaries of female athletes, all while pushing the limits of the way we do scientific research. 

Lululemon is teaming up with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific to conduct groundbreaking research studies throughout the training process and during the event itself.

This scientific inquiry aims to bridge the gap in understanding female endurance performance, a realm sorely lacking in research and attention.

What We Know about Further, Lululemon's Secretive, Women's Only Six-Day Ultramarathon 3
Photo Credit: Lululemon

“We are witnessing a paradigm shift in women’s athletics, and Lululemon is proud to be at the forefront of this movement,” says Nikki Neuburger, Lululemon’s Chief Brand Officer. “The FURTHER initiative is about more than just running; it’s about empowering women to shatter barriers and redefine what’s possible.”

The roster of athletes participating in the FURTHER Ultramarathon reads like a who’s who of female sporting talent. From ultrarunning world record holder Camille Herron to marathon maven Xiaomeng Jia, each athlete brings their own unique story and desire to push boundaries.

In addition to the ultramarathon itself, Lululemon has been rolling out a host of community activations and product innovations designed to support female athletes at every stage of their journey. From the launch of the Blissfeel Trail running shoe to global Strava challenges, the FURTHER initiative aims to go beyond pursuing diversity in athlete investigations.

What We Know about Further, Lululemon's Secretive, Women's Only Six-Day Ultramarathon 4
Photo Credit: Lululemon

Why Is Gender Balance Important In Research About Runners And Athletes?

Research about athletes should include female athletes as subjects for several important reasons:

  1. Representation: Including female athletes ensures that research findings are representative of the entire athlete population. Excluding female athletes can lead to biased conclusions that only apply to male athletes, neglecting the unique physiological, psychological, and social factors that may affect female athletes differently.
  2. Equity and Fairness: Excluding female athletes from research can perpetuate gender inequalities in sports and healthcare. It’s essential to promote gender equity by giving equal opportunities for participation and representation in research studies.
  3. Understanding Gender Differences: Researching both male and female athletes allows for a better understanding of gender-specific differences in training, performance, injury risk, recovery, and other factors. This knowledge can lead to more tailored and effective training programs, injury prevention strategies, and healthcare interventions for both male and female athletes.
  4. Health and Safety: Female athletes may face unique health considerations, such as menstrual cycle effects, hormonal fluctuations, and specific injury risks (e.g., ACL injuries). Research that includes female athletes can help identify and address these specific health concerns, promoting the overall well-being and safety of female athletes.
What We Know about Further, Lululemon's Secretive, Women's Only Six-Day Ultramarathon 5
Photo Credit: Lululemon

With the announcement of the initiative over a year ago and March 8, 2024, just around the corner, all eyes will be on Lululemon and its roster of elite athletes as they prepare to embark on this inaugural 6-day ultramarathon. 

In a world where women’s sports are too often overlooked, the FURTHER initiative has the potential to be a pivotal moment in scientific investigations on female athletes, an area that has been overlooked for far too long.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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