Unlimited Women Tackle The Speed Project

The Unlimited Women team pose together for a photo wearing matching black tanks.

Imagine yourself growing up, seeing your favorite sports idols on television or on the cover of your favorite magazine. Maybe you were watching Michael Jordan win his sixth NBA title, or Michael Phelps swim to his 23rd gold medal. Or perhaps it was Mia Hamm zooming down the field, the ball a blur at her feet, or Florence Griffith Joyner floating to yet another world record. How many of your beloved sports idols were female?

Trailblazers like Hamm and Joyner are important, and paved the way for regular women to show up for their chosen sport and put in the work daily. They are a vital example of what any woman is capable of. An op-ed published by UN Women discusses that when girls see women athletes overcoming adversity and challenging stereotypes in sports, they’re more likely to believe in their own potential and abilities.

In this vein, and in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re telling the story of Unlimited Women, a diverse group of women athletes tackling The Speed Project (TSP), a relentless 300-plus-mile unsanctioned footrace from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Fleet Feet is sponsoring Unlimited Women with gear fittings, apparel and nutrition to support their training and racing.

Eight out of the 10 Unlimited Women team members are participating in TSP for the first time. Some are experienced runners while some are newer to the sport. Their goal isn’t necessarily to be the fastest team so much as to work together to make it to the finish line and provide much-needed visibility to women from all walks of life and show them that women are capable of anything.

This team of 10 is excited to show the world what they can do and share their stories along the way.

Meet the Unlimited Women

What Is The Speed Project?

Unlimited Women’s Racing Strategy

Recovery on the Road

Meet the Unlimited Women

Jocelyn Rivas smiles and poses for a photo.

Jocelyn Rivas – Team Captain

Jocelyn is an ardent advocate for women in sports. “When we ask for diverse representation in the running community, we are not asking for too much. Representation is vital. As an athlete, I’m showing others they can also do what I’m doing, inspiring women, Latina or Ingenious women, immigrants, Dreamers and others to achieve more,” she says. “When we shine, we give others the opportunity to shine as well. We open doors for others to come after us.”

We’ve introduced Jocelyn before. Read more about her goal to be the youngest Latina to run 100 marathons and life after achieving her goal. She uses running as a platform to proudly represent women, Dreamers and the Latin community in the sport.

Jocelyn’s Sweet Spot: Roads and heat.

Jocelyn’s Favorite Fuel: “My favorite way to fuel during runs is with Maurten.”

What Drives Jocelyn: As an advocate for diversity in sports, she was inspired to create an all-women team of runners from diverse backgrounds. “As someone who has a platform, I wanted any girl or woman to be able to see the team and identify with someone on the team.”

Liss runs in her black Unlimited Women tank.

Lissette (Liss) Pastor – Team Coach

Liss is a Mexican American and a creative director living and working in Los Angeles, Calif. She’s a leader in the Los Angeles running community, inspiring others through her drive and commitment to the sport. As the team’s coach, she’ll support her fellow athletes through some tough moments. “I try my best to sense what each runner is experiencing and ask how they would like to be supported,” Liss says. “I believe that a good laugh or good music can help distract us from all the hard moments. I’ll also remind them of how brave and strong they are, and to dig deeper and chase that better version that is behind that difficult moment.” It helps that Liss is a two-time veteran of TSP.

Liss’ Sweet Spot: Roads and heat.

Liss’ Favorite Shoes: “Hopefully I can fit three pairs in my bag. My fast shoe is the Nike Vaporfly, my trail shoe is Nike Pegasus Trail 3 and my comfy shoe is Nike Invincible 3.”

What Liss Listens To: Liss likes to pick a single song to listen to during a marathon, so we asked her what she’ll be tuning into. She’s mixing it up for TSP and enjoying everything from a single artist. “Do you know that research by Pour Moi found the artists you should be listening to if you want to improve your speed and mood when running? According to them, Beyoncé has the greatest effect on a runner's speed. That’s what I’ll be listening to.”

Emily smiles with her arms folded across her chest.

Emily Haag

Emily got the bug for running while attending college in Australia. Today, she lives in Los Angeles and has completed many more marathons—on five continents, no less—and transitioned into ultras. She loves endurance challenges and is more drawn to the idea of suffering in beautiful scenery than the running itself. “You can be in the middle of the most unbelievable suffering, but if you stop and look around, the world never ceases to be beautiful. That’s true of running, but that’s also true of life,” Emily says. “That doesn’t mean suffering is insignificant. It’s easy to get trapped in pain and think that’s all there is when the truth is the world around you is always beautiful.”

Emily’s Sweet Spot: Trails and heat.

Emily’s Special Talent: “I’m an excellent cheerleader. I’m good at keeping morale up. It doesn’t matter what’s going on or how tired I am, I’m always upbeat. I tend to turn everything into a reason to laugh. And I’m a terrible singer, but I’ll be out there singing loudly to the radio anyway.”

Chloe smiles for a headshot.

Chloe Ang

Chloe is a Filipino American and mother runner advocating for mental health for women and mothers by sharing how running helped her get through tough moments and saved her life. “I often reach out to women and moms to see how they’re doing because I want them to remember to check in with themselves also. It’s okay to do things for yourself too. They need to make sure that they’re prioritizing their needs so that they can be a better wife and mom for their loved ones,” she says. “I’m extremely honored that I get to be a part of this phenomenal and powerful team of women from different backgrounds.”

Chloe’s Sweet Spot: Trails.

How Chloe Approaches Tough Runs: “Running is not a pretty sport. It’s tough and raw, but that’s why I love it so much. It’s when I get to shut off my brain and focus on my breathing and my form, and it makes me feel alive. It’s my “me time” and form of self care. You can physically train for those difficult runs/races, but you need to put in the same effort mentally and emotionally. I learned to dig deep, I think of my son, and I remind myself of my ‘why’ and that helps me zone in and push through any limits. It makes me feel unlimited.”


Mireille Siné

Mireille is a run coach, athlete and public health professional. Her unique brand of motivation and authenticity has helped foster a community of athletes. Fun fact: Mireille is the first Black woman to run from Boston to New York City (in 11 days!). As a run coach, she hopes to introduce runners into the sport while advocating for diversity and inclusion, a holistic lifestyle and the freedom to show up as you are. To that point, Mireille is an example for women living with chronic illness. Diagnosed with Lupus in 2013, Mireille used fitness to gain control of her life and health and is a shining example that unfortunate circumstances don't have to stop you from achieving your goals.

Mireille’s Sweet Spot: Trails and cold.

What Mireille Represents: “Black distance runners are rare. Less than two percent of marathon runners in the United States are African American. It’s important that I continue to show ways that this community can engage with this sport. As a woman who doesn’t have the typical ‘runner’s body,’ I think it’s also important to show that everyone can be a runner, no matter what size or ability.”

Mireille’s Pre-run Prep: “I start with activities that target my lower body using a resistance band which takes about five minutes. If I have more time, I’ll roll out or do some dynamic stretches. I also prep my mind by visualizing my route and thinking about how I want to feel on my run.”

Rosa smiles for a photo

Rosa Kwak

Like many people, Rosa incorporated running into her lifestyle during the pandemic, and has since accomplished some impressive feats. She placed second overall female at the Berkeley Half Marathon, Take the Bridge and the Rose Bowl Half Marathon. She placed first overall female at the Bimbo 10K and in her marathon debut at the Ventura Marathon. As a member of Unlimited Women she represents not only new runners but Asian athletes.

Rosa’s Sweet Spot: Roads.

Rosa’s Thoughts on Nerves: “It’s the gnawing anticipation of the unknown. This is when your body takes over because the training will speak for itself. I come back to the Alexi Pappas quote, ‘Nerves are cousin to excitement, and excitement is cousin to gratitude. Pay attention to your nerves: If you feel nervous, it’s a sign that a Very Big Thing is unfolding. Be nervous about how good that thing can be.’ Running 300+ miles non-stop is a huge endeavor. It truly takes a village and team to accomplish such a feat, so I would say I’m nervous but mostly excited for how adaptable we will be when push comes to shove and how our collective strengths and skills will take us to that next mile!”

Kari runs down the road.

Kari Weis

No stranger to unsanctioned races, Kari brings some knowledge about these unique experiences that the rest of the Unlimited Team can benefit from. “I prefer unsanctioned racing because it's more intense than regular racing. It's more exciting. You have to figure out your own route and think fast. It requires you to be present.” Kari credits being a better runner to running with a group because it pushes her in ways she wouldn’t push herself when running solo. “I'm excited to be out in the desert. I'm excited to push myself and be part of an awesome team.”

Kari’s Sweet Spot: Trails and heat.

Kari’s Favorite Fuel: Sour gummy worms and electrolyte tablets.

What Kari Offers the Team: “I think it's important to break the rules sometimes. I'm all about unlocking that potential that you didn't know you had because you were too busy following the rules, and that’s something I’ll remind the Unlimited Women team.”

Gabriella of Unlimited Women

Gabriella Villalobos

Gabriella is a Guatemalan and Mexican American representing the Latin community, as well as a working mom of two girls who’s setting an example for women and mothers. She uses running to de-stress and manage her mental health. “I use my running as teaching moments for my daughters, explaining to them the importance of hard work, determination and now with being on this team; teamwork,” she says. “With all these Unlimited Women who do amazing things, I am honored to be on a team with people who are so determined and driven to strive for more and better. I strive to be better and promote that women can achieve greatness.”

Gabriella’s Sweet Spot: Roads and cold.

Gabriella’s Post-run Recovery: “I try to get as many nutrients I can to replenish the energy and fluids I lost. I sometimes take ice baths and hot Epsom salt baths to help my body and muscles, and I rest as much as I can until I do it all over again.”

Tay of Unlimited Women.

Tasheri (Tay) Artis

Tay is a veteran of TSP. She believes that running, and any sport, provides an outlet for women to connect, grow and sharpen their sense of self. Her voice and purpose support creating an inclusive space for women to explore this sport. “Running is for everyone and unfortunately, it can be a space that is overwhelming and intimidating to new athletes because they may not feel as if they have a traditional ‘runner’ look, are worried about their pace or anything else that makes them feel less than confident,” Tay suggests. “As someone who has been in the sport for many years and does not have these challenges or worries, I hope that my place on the Unlimited Women team gives anyone doubting that they belong in running the confidence to show that they do and that they can.”

Tay’s Sweet Spot: Roads and cold.

Tay on Discipline and Saying Yes: “In training for the 2018 Chicago Marathon with the Nike Women Marathon Project, I learned that discipline is necessary to complete any goal as I was both working a full-time, corporate job and training like a world-class athlete. I learned for the first time to push past my imagined limits and have not looked back. I am a proponent of always saying yes to things that scare you and that is not limited to athletic feats, but anything in life.

Pam of the Unlimited Women.

Pamela Price

Pamela represents Filipino Americans and women with high-powered careers as the senior executive producer of the Hollywood Beauty Awards, known as the “Oscars of Beauty.” She’s also a journalist and vice president of the daily-news site LATFusa.com. As an athlete living with permanent nerve damage as the result of Behçet's disease, Pamela doesn’t let that limit her. She’s a trained dancer turned distance runner, having placed first at several trail and obstacle-course races, and has even participated in American Ninja Warrior and Wipeout.

Pamela’s Sweet Spot: Trails and cold.

Pamela on Discipline with a Capital ‘D’: “Dance is extremely strict and I was trained by demanding instructors. They taught me the power to remain strong physically and mentally, no matter what. At times, my right arm or hand will go numb and I will feel extreme discomfort. However, with that discipline, I’m able to train my brain to push through the discomfort when I’m running. Then I break through into a zone that is meditative while running. Finishing 12 miles up and down a mountain on a day I didn't think I could twist a peanut butter jar open is pretty empowering.”

Pamela’s Special Talent: “Breakdancing. I don't think there's room in the Unlimited Women RV for coffee grinder dance moves, but maybe a split or two!”

What Is The Speed Project?

The Speed Project is an unsanctioned race that starts on Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles and ends at the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada sign on the Las Vegas Strip. The original route is 340 miles through Hollywood, into the Mojave Desert, past Death Valley National Park and into Las Vegas. This no-frills endurance event has one rule: “No freeways.” It’s essentially a choose-your-own-adventure for endurance runners. Despite not having a website, no formal invitation process and very minimal coverage, TSP piques the interest of experienced and new athletes every year.

The Unlimited Women are taking on the original 340-mile route. Both the original route and the “short route,” which ranges from 290 to 310 miles, are difficult courses, but the Unlimited Women knew the longest and toughest route was the challenge for them.

Unlimited Women’s Racing Strategy

The Unlimited Women run down the road.

While the team isn’t aiming for a record or title, they will be using each athlete’s strengths to enhance overall team performance. Jocelyn clarifies, “Pamela, Kari and Emily love hills and trails, so we will put them on tough trail segments. Liss, Gabriella and Tay are phenomenal and fast at running longer distances on the road, so we will be using them during some long segments where the SUV and RV cannot stop as often.”

They will strategize by temperature, as well. “I’m doing more miles in the heat through Death Valley because I have experience running in 100-plus degrees,” Jocelyn explains. “We have athletes running overnight in colder temperatures because that’s what they’re best at.” Even with this strategy in place to maximize everyone’s strengths and preferences, the Unlimited Women are planning to challenge themselves and push outside of their comfort zones, too.

Recovery on the Road

Recovery is an important part of any endurance event, especially for relays when athletes will have downtime between legs. Unlimited Women will have access to a recovery van so that two to three athletes can rest while others are in the RV or out running their segments. Jocelyn explains, “We will have Space Bar Wellness with their lead sports massage therapist Paulina Valenzuela and owner Jacob Saldana. Paulina will be helping us with knots, pain and recovery while Jacob is driving the van. Our team will have access to Hyperice massage guns, compression boots and more.”

Get a behind-the-scenes look at their adventure in March 2023. You can follow along as they make their way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Instagram: Unlimited Women and Fleet Feet.

Keep Reading