As an avid runner, I admit, I was a little skeptical to hear about Ghost Race, a series of eight-kilometer "virtual" road races put on by Strava and Lululemon. What's the fun in doing a race by yourself, without hearing the huffing and puffing of runners next to you or the applause and words of encouragement from total strangers?
But I may be too cynical –– especially because the series, taking place in 12 cities across the U.S. and Canada, could be marketing gold for the brands, helping them win an even bigger slice of the wellness industry pie. According to new data from the Global Wellness Report, that industry has ballooned in recent years and is now valued at $4.2 trillion.
Runners can find the race map on Strava, and complete the race at any time during a 10-day time frame (no 7 a.m. start time –– a definite perk). Then, runners save their results on Strava, of course, and celebrate with an in-person, post-race party hosted by both brands.
The Strava and Lululemon partnership is a unique pairing, and could inspire other fitness companies to follow suit –– and build buzz by further tapping into the on-demand fitness and digital tracking trend. (In other "taking advantage of trends" news, Equinox is launching wellness luxury tours.) At the same time, they're not leaving people like me, who enjoy a little camaraderie, out in the cold: You can run with a Lululemon ambassador-led group at designated times. Still, we will see whether the events will drum up enough hype for the model to make sense for other brands to enter the race.
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