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Runner stories

Artfully crafting the Run Proud Collection

Designers of the Run Proud collection
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Brooks teamed up with artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon for our new Run Proud Collection and more.

Celebrating the LGBTQ+ community

Brooks believes in the freedom to be yourself in life and on the run. As part of our celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and Pride, we release the Run Proud Collection each spring. This year, we wanted to take the design to a new level and found the perfect partner in renowned artist Lisa Congdon.

Lisa Congdon smiling at the camera

Artist, illustrator, writer

Lisa Congdon has built a career as a fine artist and illustrator that has led to partnerships with major brands and earned her a global following. Her trajectory is remarkable when you consider she didn’t even pick up a paintbrush until she was 31 years old. Without any formal artistic training, she developed a unique style that is bright, playful, and inspiring.

In addition to her artwork, Lisa has also authored 10 books and spends time teaching and mentoring on creative entrepreneurship.

A proud member and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community, Lisa lives with her wife, Clay, in Portland, Oregon.

Lisa and her dog on a couch

Lisa and her dog, Milkshake, in her studio.

The collaboration

Lisa cites running as an early love that ended when she developed an arthritic knee. These days, she’s an avid cyclist and when we approached her about collaborating, she saw Brooks as an ideal partner.

“I have dreamed of working for a really long time with a sportswear brand, especially one that cares so deeply about the world,” said Congdon.

We felt the same way about working with her. For Brooks x Lisa Congdon, she created the designs for the recently released apparel, as well as a custom shoe and packaging that’s slated for release this fall.

Lisa integrates written messages into much of her work. Graphics include phrases like: “Every mistake is progress” and “Consider everything an experiment.” For the apparel in the Brooks collab, she incorporated a bold rainbow and sun mosaic with the message: “Freedom to Be You.”

The vibrant design on the forthcoming shoe also reflects her own outlook as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It really was an honor to create a design that speaks to queer joy,” said Congdon.

Lisa sitting with her wife, Clay.

Lisa pictured here with her wife, Clay.

It really was an honor to create a design that speaks to queer joy," said Congdon

Going further together

We wanted to take our partnership with Lisa a step further and asked her if there was a charitable organization she was interested in. She suggested Camp Brave Trails, a leadership camp for LGBTQ+ youth, and an organization she’s been involved with for three years.

Group of campers in the forest

Camp Brave Trails

“It’s a safe place for queer kids, but also a place where they can learn leadership skills,” said Congdon.

Camp Brave Trails provides leadership-focused summer camps in California and Maryland specifically for LGBTQ+ youth. They offer a mix of traditional camp activities like swimming, archery, theater, and outdoor activities along with daily workshops on everything from body positivity and yoga to resume building and college prep.

Camp Brave Trails has hosted over a thousand campers from thirty-nine different US states and fifteen countries. It’s run by over 100 volunteer staff members from 17 different US states and six countries.

In 2022, a team from Washington State University conducted research to assess the effectiveness of a program like Camp Brave Trails, even if it’s hosted virtually. The researchers found the experience reduced depressive symptoms and positively influenced the self-esteem of participants.

Brave Trails members

Camp Brave Trails

Field day!

We brought the Run Happy spirit of Brooks to a field day event at Camp Brave Trails. Campers participated in a mix of activities from designing cabin flags, to a lantern dance party. Brooks partner Mikah Meyer, an outdoor adventurer who raises awareness for the LGBTQ+ community, also hosted a leadership workshop with the campers and staff. Every camper also received a gift bag that included the shirt Lisa designed.

Brooks is proud to partner with such an amazing organization and we are looking forward to our continued work with Camp Brave Trails.

Run Proud gear on a bench

Learn more

You can shop the Run Proud apparel now. Click the link if you’re interested in learning more about Camp Brave Trails, or visit them on Instagram.


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A colorful running shoe