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by Simon Freeman


Since its inception 21 years ago, lululemon has always stood for an active lifestyle. At its Vancouver headquarters, words from the original lululemon manifesto still emblazon the wall outside the gym and yoga studio: A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.


Your reasons for running are bound to be unique to you – whether you want to make time for yourself, hit a fitness target, or get together with friends. There is a place for all runners in the sweatlife, lululemon’s call to get active in mind and body. The people who work there, each with their own unique reason for lacing up their shoes and getting out there, are testament to that fact. Here, three lululemon insiders share their running stories with Like the Wind editor SimonFreeman.


Calvin McDonald, CEO


The SeaWheeze half-marathon in Vancouver travels down Cornwall Avenue in both directions, passing the lululemon store support centre twice. I’ve passed the turnaround point and I’m heading back downtown when I spot Calvin going in the opposite direction, on the other side of the road, pacing a group of runners. Just 24 hours earlier I’d interviewed Calvin in his bright, minimalist office. I wonder how many CEOs can transition from the boardroom to a half-marathon, just like that? Like many Canadians, Calvin spent much of his youth playing hockey. But that was not all he did. “I had a few side-hustles: cycling and swimming,” Calvin tells me. “And one day I woke up and said: ‘I want to try a triathlon.’ Interestingly, the first two marathons I ran were in my first two Ironman races.”


After triathlons, Calvin’s passion shifted towards pure running. “I focused a lot on running and falling in love with running,” he says. “I ran a ton of marathons. I’ve done four of the World Marathon Majors – I still have Berlin and Tokyo to do. But I have run London, Boston, New York and Chicago.” 

When I ask Calvin for a word that describes what he most appreciates about running, his answer is brilliantly simple, yet at the same time nuanced: “Connect.” What that means is not the same for every run. “It depends on the day and the run,” says Calvin, ”so it can be connect with self, connect with challenges or connect with family and friends.” Calvin also enjoys connecting with new places through running. “When I’m in London, I love running in Hyde Park,” he says. “I have had so many memorable runs there.”


At work, Calvin thinks a lot about lululemon’s purpose: helping to unleash everyone’s potential through the idea of the sweatlife. “Within the concept of the sweatlife there is yoga, train and run,” says Calvin. “Run represents many elements of the sweatlife. We’re coming at running through the lens of balance and purposeful running.”


At the end of the SeaWheeze half-marathon, Calvin has paced his group perfectly. He turns to high-five those with whom he has shared the race and I doubt many of the runners who followed Calvin know who their pacer was. They just know he was helping them live the sweatlife.


Simon Freeman is the editor of Like the Wind magazine. He swapped fast road marathons for slow trail ultras.
IG: @simonbfreeman

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