GU Energy collaborates with Rising Hearts for a third year to sponsor an indigenous runner at WSER
February 7, 2024
/OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – GU Energy Labs is once again partnering with the nonprofit Rising Hearts to sponsor an indigenous runner for the 2024 Western States Endurance Run. GU has worked closely with Rising Hearts to lift up indigenous runners and help provide opportunities for access to historically underserved communities and to raise awareness about how the lands we recreate on are borrowed. This year, Alex Staten has been chosen as the recipient of the GU Energy Labs WSER sponsor entry.
Staten hails from Fayetteville, AR and is Diné on her mother’s side and Mexican on her father’s side. She completed her first trail race in 2011, and since then has entered into the world of ultra running, completing her first 100-mile race in 2023 at the Arkansas Traveller. She is also involved with Trail Sisters, the organization dedicated to promoting and empowering women-identifying people in the world of running.
“It is not lost on me that people try for a very long time to get into the race but also how inaccessible it can be,” says Staten“It takes a lot of resources to train and run a race that will qualify you to even enter the lottery. It is an opportunity that most people do not have. To me, seeing organizations and partnerships like this help increase the overall visibility and awareness of Indigenous people and runners-as well as other marginalized communities-is a way to help start conversations around broader issues and is a way to help others learn about cultures that are often misrepresented.”
In addition to an entry into WSER, Staten will also be working with elite GU Energy Labs athlete Stephanie Flippin, a runner and coach, to train and prepare for the race in June. Flippin has many accolades to her name, including being the 2021 USATF 100 Mile National Champion.
“It is a prodigious honor to be a small part of the indispensable work that GU Energy Labs is doing to comprehensively improve and support diversity in the trail and ultrarunning space,” explains Flippin. “Their humble and constant examination of every facet of inclusion, in conjunction with these initiatives, are core reasons why I continue to partner with GU as an elite athlete. I am so appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the diversity selection committee, as well as the coach and holistic mentor for GU’s and Rising Hearts’ diversity runners at this year’s edition of Western States 100 mile endurance run.”
GU Energy Labs’ VP of People and Culture, Felicia Lopez, explains about her enthusiasm for this collaboration, “We’re profoundly grateful for the Rising Hearts partnership, and we are brimming with excitement as we embark on wholeheartedly supporting Alex on her inspiring training and racing journey! Our purpose work focuses on ensuring that everyone has access to the joy of physical movement, proper nutrition, and the great outdoors, and we pay special attention to underrepresented and historically excluded communities and identities.”
About GU Energy Labs
GU Energy Labs strives to help athletes to reach their highest potential with products that deliver the right nutrients, in the right amounts, at the right time. Since its founding in 1993, GU has been committed to increasing access to sport for all. To that end, GU Gives – the company’s philanthropic arm that focuses on uplifting underserved and underrepresented communities – supports organizations and initiatives centered around 3 pillars: physical movement, environmental stewardship, and food awareness. Headquartered in Berkeley, CA, GU Energy Labs produces all of its Energy Gels onsite, largely through sustainable solar power. Learn more at www.guenergy.com.
About Rising Hearts
Rising Hearts is an Indigenous led grassroots organization committed to the heart work in elevating Indigenous voices, promoting, and supporting intersectional collaborative efforts across all forms of movements in cultivating community with the goals of racial, social, climate and economic justice. Our primary focuses are to inform, elevate, mobilize, and organize through movement, strategic and targeted advocacy and programming, establishing collaborative kinships to help create a better, safer future, and environment for all relatives who inhabit this planet – past, present, and future. Learn more at www.risinghearts.org.