GU Energy Labs announces Hebah Hefzy and Ngugi Kihara to run WSER

March 12, 2024

/OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – GU Energy Labs is pleased to announce the selection of ultra-runners Hebah Hefzy and Ngugi Kihara for the brand’s two sponsor entries for the 2024 Western States Endurance Run (WSER), the iconic 100-mile footrace from Palisades Tahoe to Auburn, California in late June. Hefzy and Kihara both represent historically excluded communities and were chosen to run WSER based on their personal stories as well as their qualifying criteria for the race.

GU Energy Labs believes that increasing access and promoting inclusivity in trail running is crucial to the future of the sport, and that these two athletes will  bring new perspectives, backgrounds, and stories to the Western States experience. In addition to a free entry, Hefzy and Kihara will also receive GU sports nutrition products for training and race day and a $5,000 scholarship to offset travel and related costs.

Kihara, who is originally from Kenya but now lives with his family in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, explains what this opportunity means to him: “I’m thrilled to be training for the iconic Western States race, to follow in the footsteps of great runners before me.  I feel proud to highlight the importance of representation in such a competitive and esteemed event, and to showcase the love that the running community has to give. A goal of mine is to inspire more people from more diverse backgrounds to embrace the beauty of nature, outdoor exploration, and the sport of ultrarunning. Participating in the Western States Endurance Run is a huge step towards making a positive impact on increasing diversity in ultrarunning.”

Hefzy, a Detroit, MI-based mother of three and a vascular neurologist at the Henry Ford health system and the medical director of the stroke program at Henry Ford West Bloomfield hospital, began running ultras as a way to help mitigate the stress of being a single mom and essential worker during the COVID pandemic and quickly found that there weren’t any runners showing up who looked like her. “I love being an ultra-runner and representing Muslim women, single moms, and all people who feel like they don’t belong in this space. I want to line up with these professional mountain runners, run the same course that they run, endure the same pain that they endure to prove to myself, to my kids, and to anyone else like me that you can accomplish amazing things while still holding true to your values and your faith and the things that add meaning to your life.”

“GU couldn’t be more excited to give Hebah and Ngugi the opportunity to perform at the highest level and to share their stories,” explains Cody Logan, GU Energy Labs Brand Experience Manager. “They not only represent our ethos as a brand but what trail running is all about: love, determination, and community. We are so grateful to be a part of their journey from Olympic Valley to Placer High track and hope that their presence reminds folks that representation is an absolute necessity in improving access to the sport.”

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.