Trail Sisters is Running the Globe for the Covid-19 Pandemic


“We can get through this pandemic together,” says Gina Lucrezi, founder of Trail Sisters, a women’s trail running community and online journal with a mission to “increase women’s participation and opportunity in trail running through inspiration, education and empowerment.”

Most of Lucrezi’s time is usually spent curating content and developing experiences for a robust community of trail-running women all over the globe, but it all looks a little bit different these days.

With the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spreading across the US, Lucrezi decided she had to help.

“We can’t be together right now. In some places, we can’t even run on trails,” says Lucrezi. “But we can still run together, and we can still celebrate each other and our accomplishments. And support a good cause while we do it.”

From there, the Trail Sisters Camaraderie Challenge was born. It’s a worldwide effort to collectively run around the globe (24,901 miles) and raise money for the Centers for Disease Control Emergency Fund’s fight against COVID-19. Entry is free, with an optional donation.

The multi-day event raised more than $8,000 in less than two weeks. All of the money will go directly to the CDC for immediate relief.

“We also didn’t want people to have to donate in order to participate,” says Lucrezi, talking through how Trail Sisters set up the event. “Not everyone has the means to donate extra money right now. While it’s important to raise money, it's equally as important to us to have people getting involved in something together and taking care of our community. This is our way of being able to help.”

In light of the event, and the nearly 17,000 miles event participants have already completed, we caught up with Lucrezi to learn more about the Camaraderie Challenge, Trail Sisters and her vision for where we go from here.

Trail runner holding up a race number

FF: Why decide to do something like the Camaraderie Challenge?

GL: To generate inspiration, to come together, to boost morale and to give people something positive to focus on.

And since this pandemic is global, I felt bringing awareness to the whole globe in some way (in this case miles run!) could help unite us. Because not just one area in this world is suffering. We’re all affected.

I also wanted to see the event last over a couple of weeks instead of an hour or even a couple of days. Since we’re all spending so much time in quarantine, having a lasting event is a way to really be together in spirit when we can’t be together in person.

What happens when someone submits miles toward the overall goal?

When you submit your race miles, you can submit an inspirational race message for everyone else to read. You get to read notes from others and get inspired yourself. Participants can track the progress of the whole event and join in the camaraderie of accomplishing a major goal, together.

Where should people run their miles? There are a lot of trail closures happening all over, so do you have any advice for runners during these unprecedented times?

Yes, depending on where you live, everything is different. In many places, parking lots are becoming overcrowded, and trails are becoming congested.

My message to the community is this: It’s great to get activity, but stay local and close to home. If a trailhead is packed with cars, don’t go there. Go somewhere else. Be conscious of your surroundings, be considerate of social distancing guidelines, and make sure that you’re sharing the space appropriately and providing respectful space for others. If you live somewhere where the trails are still open, try to go running there during times that aren’t busy (if possible).

Also, avoid getting into a high risk situation, like going out into the wilderness on exposed terrain, or on grueling efforts that could have consequences if you’re not careful. You don’t want to engage your local search and rescue team because you decide to do something risky.

This is also an opportunity to think creatively about how you get in your miles, whether that’s laps from home or loops in your backyard. (Check out the Mystery Run.)

What are some creative things you’ve seen Trail Sisters doing for miles?

Some folks have been doing laps up and down their stairs multiple times to contribute one or two miles at a time. That’s a lot of steps!

What next?

April 11 marked year four for us at Trail Sisters. We’ve done so much in four years, and I’m really proud of that. I hope to continue growing Trail Sisters, getting more women out on the trails and boosting their confidence in the sport and in everyday life.

Eventually, we’ll get out for trail tours again, camps and even a Trail Sisters trail race. But there are a lot of uncertainties right now. We’re also hoping to do more with not only women’s trail races but trail races everywhere.

Until then, you can learn more about the trail sisters community virtually and sign up for the Camaraderie Challenge below.