Meet the Endurance Runner Who Started a Community for Women Hitting the Trails
Gina Lucrezi wanted more inclusivity—and targeted gear—for women in outdoor sports, so she started a movement.
There wasn’t exactly a light bulb moment for Gina Lucrezi. It was more of a growing awareness. As she wore through sneakers and spandex doing over 80 miles a week to train for ultra trail races, Lucrezi noticed a lack of all-weather running gear for women at retail stores. “There was a giant void of encouragement and engagement with the female audience in the outdoors,” she says. “And it killed me because that audience was me.”
So in April 2016, while sitting in her kitchen in Boulder, Colorado, Lucrezi created her website Trail Sisters with the hope of simply publishing a few articles per month from other equally passionate female pals and fellow athletes. Soon, readers started sharing stories and tips for outdoor adventure, and a Trail Sisters community sprang up.
“I encouraged everybody to share as long as it fell into the buckets of inspiration, education, or empowerment,” says Lucrezi, 36. (If you're a newbie to trail running, you'll want to steal these tips from the pros.)
And those are the three principles that Trail Sisters fosters today, as the community has jumped from the screen to include 95 running groups around the country. You could even say its mission has come full circle with the recent release of a signature trail-running shoe, the Antora X Trail Sisters (Buy It, $120, merrell.com), in collaboration with outdoor brand Merrell. The shoe is painted with red and blue mountains, along with Lucrezi's personal mantras, like a cue to "pursue your passion." Part of the sales go to its Trail Run Adventure Grant, which gives women $500 toward travel, gear, and necessities to reach their #TrailGoals. (Related: Trail Running Shoes to Help You Break Away from the Pavement)
“It’s motivating to see more women interested in getting out there and tackling the elements,” says Lucrezi, who is increasing her training after pausing her pro racing career for this project. “I’m happy to put in the time to do Trail Sisters because it means a lot to me,” she says. “In a sense, it’s almost like racing, but it just puts energy in a separate bucket. And it’s all feeding the thing I love.”