Gina Lucrezi

Creative, Runner, Trail Sister.

Gina Lucrezi is what I think of as the surrogate mother to all us female bad ass trail runners. She’s the reason we’re having conversations about wanting more from the sport of trail running, and she’s giving us a platform to do it. What Gina’s doing for the outdoor industry is reminding us all that equality isn’t an afterthought.

 She’s making space for women by elevating those around her, not kicking anyone aside. Gina gives a voice to the conversations that are frequently had behind closed doors, or just among friends, because, where else would women talk about breast feeding during an ultra? Men sure as hell don’t have to think about it!

What Gina has created through Trail Sisters has empowered me to connect with other women in the sport. Trail Sisters has inspired me to value community as an opportunity to grow and get better, a quality that is essential towards optimizing just how truly rad women are.

 I’m so proud to share my conversation with her, and sincerely hope you enjoy it too.

What was your first job?

I worked at a sweatshirt factory, tagging, bagging and hanging. I was 15. It was great getting paid under the table, but it was a truly very boring gig.

As for my real first profession, I did free-lance tv and film production work. Every gig was different, which made it so much fun. What I didn’t like, and what eventually had me leaving the profession were the sexual expectations to climb the latter or get hired for the next gig. 

When I turned down four consecutive offers, I knew it was time for something new. 

Where did you go to school? Did you ever imagine you would be doing what you’re doing now?

I went to DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

I went there because they had a great TV/Film Program. DeSales gave me access to equipment and firsthand experience in the industry as a freshman versus waiting till you’re a sophomore or junior before playing with all the gear. At the time, I would have never guessed I’d be doing what I’m doing today!

To someone who is struggling with the idea of pursuing a career to make money or a career that feels fulfilling and impassioned, what would your advice be in navigating that decision? 

I always think you should follow your heart and do what makes you happy. I know that sounds cliche and boring. For about 40-50 years, and 52 weeks a year, you spend at least five days of each of those weeks at your job. That’s a shit ton of your time, and of your life.

Sure, you might have debt, a family, a mortgage, etc. I understand people can’t just drop their jobs to go follow their passion projects. BUT, you can start looking for other jobs that get you closer to your passion, or jobs you truly enjoy. 

If you can get one job, you can get another. It might mean working a bit harder, putting in more time, or even taking a pay cut, but nothing is impossible. If you want it bad enough and are willing to work for it, the sky is the limit.

Trail Sisters Uniforms!

How did you know it was time to transition into Trail Sisters full time?

I knew it was time when more opportunities were filling my brain. I knew I could make enough to scrape by, I had all these ideas centered around ways to continue giving back to the community, so even if it did mean scraping by, that would be enough if working on Trail Sisters brought me this much joy.

My contract jobs pay the bulk of my bills, but there are some opportunities for me to make an income via TS. The tricky part is that there is no reliable amount…things can vary depending on interest from brands and even the community. It’s always a bit scary to go the self-employed and  entrepreneurial route. But I have faith that I can pull it off!

What has been the most unique part of starting Trail Sisters? 

It’s hard to say because there are a lot of awesome pieces and experiences pretty much constantly. I think what takes the cake is seeing firsthand how big the community has grown.

To see so many people psyched on what you’re creating and providing, and then to see them jump on board and share it with their communities is really rewarding.

It’s also been a blast coming up with projects and opportunities without having to go through any red tape. I have more fun working for myself, or for a community verses some business focused only on their bottom line.

Have you ever faced any gender-based adversity in the industry?

I definitely experienced gender disparity while in the tv/film business, that’s an easy yes.

The issues I do notice come more from a marketing and sales side, and towards women in general, not select individuals. Those issues were some of the reasons I started Trail Sisters in the first place. 

When I started my career in the outdoor industry about 10 years ago, there was even less encouragement and marketing towards women (at least in the area of participation). When it comes to sales though, brands don’t have any problem targeting women. They want you to spend your money on gear for your family, but many of those brands aren’t inviting you to come play. The ones that generally care a bit more create women specific products, and more than one style or color. 

I advise consumers to take a good look at the companies they are spending money with. What are those companies doing to make the sport a better experience and place for YOU? And selling you a product doesn’t count. Investing in the brands that have your back and want to see you participate are the true champions

Have you ever noticed any female-driven angst or conflict in working on Trail Sisters?

For the most part, I haven’t run into any angry trolling haters re: Trail Sisters or the TS mission. Maybe a few interactions with select individuals that don’t see women’s participation or opportunity in sport as a priority (thus, I won’t be working or promoting their brand).

Do you thrive off of routine or spontaneity? What does a typical work day/week look like in your life? 

Ha! I don’t know. I’m probably better with routine, but wish I was more spontaneous. Ironically, I still pull off some spontaneous moves. 

A typical day starts at about 6-6:30am thanks to Ezra the airedale. I have my coffee and do a few hours of work, then hit the gym around 9am for two hours. After that I come home, play with the pup, eat, and answer emails.

Then I work until about 6:30pm. That’s when I break to make dinner for my other half. I’ll work another hour from 8-9pm, and then call it quits. I try to be in bed by 10pm.

I generally do my adventures on both Saturday and Sunday. On the weekends I do my best to stay far away from my inbox or the website. I love Trail Sisters to death, but give myself the weekend to unplug (at least most weekends)!

If you could have dinner with anyone on the planet, who would you invite and what would you be eating, starter, main and dessert? 

Ha! The Notorious RBG! Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She seems to be on top of her health! I’d choose a garden salad to start, probably with a vinaigrette dressing, then a salmon dish with asparagus, cauliflower, and mashed potatoes, then finish with a strawberry shortcake. But! I’d use angel food cake instead of pound cake. 

The Marathon

1. What is your absolute favorite thing about trail running? Hands down, exploring new places. Using my two feet to reach places otherwise unobtainable is simply awesome.

2. If there is one thing you could change about the sport, what would it be and why? Simple – equality wouldn’t be a question or a topic to speak about…it would just be.

3. If you could give any piece of advice to someone interested in running their first ultra, what would it be?
Drop any time goals or expectations and just go have an adventure. Putting pressure or expectations on yourself when you’re entering the unknown sets you up for disappointment. Instead, focus on the experience and just tackling the obstacles that present themselves.

4. Is it more about racing or training to you? 20 year old Gina would say racing, but 35 year old Gina would say training. I don’t need to have racing in my life to enjoy the trails.

100 Meter Dash

1. Morning, afternoon or evening run? Morning.

2. Coffee or tea? Ha! Tea is for weenies…(jk)…Coffee for this girl.

3. Pre-run oats or pre-run toast? (or neither! What’s your favorite pre-workout fuel?) Pre-run Belvita cookie crackers!!! Cinnamon Sugar is my fav.
 
4. Favorite post-race treat? Always a beer, but for food it’s a toss up between a cheeseburger or loaded nachos. 
 
5. Favorite distance? Hmm…toughie. For racing – probably a 50k or 50mile. Training…10 miles is a distance I often aim for.
 
6. Most challenging part of starting your own business (and how did you overcome it)? Literally just making the decision to do it. You only overcome that by jumping right in. 
 
7. Last book you couldn’t put down? Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique
 
8. Last time you laughed so hard you cried? Probably on a long run with Darcy Piceu.
 
9. What’s on tap for Gina and the TS tribe? Any races or events? I’m randomly heading to South Africa in about two weeks! I’m going to support a friend at the Otter Trail Golden Series Trail Race. I’ll lace up my shoes for the first time this year and run the 10k for fun. As for TS, no new events popping up for the end of the year. I am hoping to have a program in place that allows for local women’s only Trail Sisters Running Groups.

If you enjoyed this interview, please consider donating to Gina’s Patreon platform. For more updates, adventures, info and all things Trail Sisters, you can follow her on;

IG: @ginalucrezi

Facebook: @Trail Sisters

Website: www.trailsisters.net

Gina is sponsored by 

Vasque FootwearBuff USA, Pro Tec Athletics, SmartWool, and Trail Butter
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About the author

Gabi Maudiere enjoys eating rice cakes (smothered in crunchy peanut butter) despite popular criticisms and adheres strictly to the notion of reading before bed, even if it's just half a page before falling asleep.