How Sustainable Is Canada Goose? All You Need to Know

How Sustainable Is Canada Goose? All You Need to Know

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Dennis Kamprad

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Active people like you are taking a serious look at your athletic wear since the apparel industry contributes 10% of global emissions and is the second biggest polluter of our environment. Canada Goose is a luxury outerwear brand popular for extreme weather gear. So we had to ask: How sustainable is Canada Goose?”

As of now, Canada Goose doesn’t look very sustainable. We’ve only seen intentions to become sustainable, but we haven’t seen a lot of evidence of this in their products yet. The hope is they will make eco-friendly apparel in the future, but it’s too early to call them sustainable.

Ok, we’ve given you the overall summary of Canada Goose’s sustainability. But there’s more to it. Let’s have a look at the whole life-cycle of their products, from production to usage to end-of-life. And Canada Goose’s involvement in sustainability-promoting organizations. Let’s get started with the big picture first.

Here’s How Sustainable Canada Goose Is

Canada Goose is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They were founded in 1957 under the company name Metro Sportswear, Ltd. and quickly grew due to being an exclusive provider of gear to Canadian government offices, such as the police and rangers. The company now sells outdoor apparel direct to consumers and wholesale to retailers around the world

You have to do some digging to find sustainability information when you go to the Canada Goose website. We were able to find their sustainability page, which is where we found a 2020 Sustainability Report and details on what they say they are doing to be sustainable. Through these we learned how they started taking actions in 2019 and details on their plans to be sustainable.

Considering their Sustainability Report talks mostly about their intentions to become sustainable, and we don’t see a lot of evidence of this in their products yet, it makes us wonder if they are really committed to becoming a sustainable brand.

Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”

Oxford Dictionary

To know if Canada Goose really is sustainable we need to look at their manufacturing practices and determine if they are effectively reducing their impact on the planet. To do that we need to look at:

  • the information they share,
  • data they report to third parties for external review, 
  • their ratings and reviews, and 
  • what sustainable organizations they belong to. 

To understand the sustainability of Canada Goose, we must assess its products’ life-cycle and each stage’s sustainability. This life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a method to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and materials. Over the years, companies have strategically used LCA to research and create more sustainable products. So, let’s have a look at the LCA of Canada Goose!

The product life-cycle stages Each stage’s sustainability
Production Materials: We could only verify they use responsibly sourced down. If they work with more organizations to prove their sustainability and be more transparent, we may one day be able to say more. They need to continue to make changes in their sourcing and become transparent about it, before we can say they’re using eco-friendly materials.
Manufacturing: It’s hard to say if Canada Goose manufacturing is sustainable. If they meet their bluesign® certification goal by 2025, we will know more. 
Packaging: They have goals to reduce packaging and use recycled, but they don’t give details on what those are.
Usage Lifespan: Being an apparel brand that is trendy and fashionable means they’re talked about as to who’s wearing them, not how long they last. It’s apparent the company needs to look at how easily their apparel can be recycled.
Quality reviews: They talk about using high-quality materials, but they don’t give us details. Online reviews show there are some complaints about the quality of their products.
End-of-life Circularity: It’s what they do in the future to reclaim materials that will show us how well Canada Goose supports a circular economy.
Recycling: They may be making efforts to use recycled material in their products, but there are no signs they are concerned about whether their products can or will get recycled.
Waste: They say they’re working on waste reduction efforts. They don’t tell us that they’re doing anything to recycle their products when they reach their end-of-life.

How Sustainable Is the Production of Canada Goose Products

To determine if Canada Goose’s products are sustainable we have to look at how they are made. Are factory emissions monitored and actions taken to reduce them? Does Canada Goose keep material waste at a minimum? Do they use non-toxic chemicals that don’t damage the environment? These are all things we need to know to determine if Canada Goose is sustainable.

If a company is sustainable they brag about it. Canada Goose doesn’t share many details on their manufacturing and materials, and most of what we know comes directly from the company. We could only verify they use responsibly sourced down. If they work with more organizations to prove their sustainability and be more transparent, we may one day be able to call them sustainable.

Canada Goose isn’t very transparent about their progress toward their sustainability goals. They didn’t participate in the brand questionnaire for the 2021 Fashion Transparency Index, and independent analysis is practically non-existent. The index, put out by Fashion Revolution, gave them an overall transparency rating of 6-10, out of a possible 100%. They rated them a 21-30% on their policy and commitments, which is likely due to Canada Goose efforts to improve their sourcing policies. However, they gave them a 0-5% rating on governance, which is how well the company oversees production.

If Canada Goose is moving forward with their sustainability plans, they aren’t saying much about it. So are they as committed to being sustainable as they want us to believe? Let’s look at what we can find out about their materials sourcing and how they make their products.

How Sustainable Are the Materials That Canada Goose Uses for Their Products

Most athletic and outdoor wear contain cotton, polyester, vinyl, rubber, and plastic. Cotton is the only one of these that doesn’t come from fossil fuels. The Canada Goose materials page explains their transition plans to sustainable down, non-virgin fur, and preferred fibers. It does not provide specifics on materials currently used. We need to know where they source them if we’re going to figure out if they’re using recycled and sustainable materials.

Canada Goose is just starting to use responsibly sourced materials like down, fur, and wool. They need to continue to make changes in their sourcing and become transparent about what they are doing, before we can say they’re using eco-friendly materials.

What types of materials does Canada Goose use for their products?

We looked at a number of Canada Goose product descriptions but none gave us a breakdown of the materials used. The materials they most commonly mention are nylon, polyester, down, cotton, and fur. 

Their materials page talks about their transition to more transparency in what they use and a commitment to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) set by the Textile Exchange. Their sustainably sourced page tells us they are transitioning toward ethically sourced down, wool, and fur.

We can only wait and see what happens when they’re done with this transition. Will they meet their goals? Will they keep looking for ways to source responsibly?

Are the materials used by Canada Goose virgin (new) or non-virgin (recycled)?

Some Canada Goose products say they’re made using recycled materials, such as cotton, polyester, nylon, or responsibly sourced down. We found these mostly in their HUMANATURE apparel. When we looked deeper, we found that most of their outerwear doesn’t say it’s made with recycled materials. Looking at the materials information on their New Arrivals and Bestsellers, very few of the products say this. 

On their product menu the men’s and women’s apparel list recycled fabrics as an option. This page features products with some recycled content. In most cases, it lists one material that is recycled, like 100% recycled nylon. The descriptions don’t provide a breakdown of all materials used or list other recycled content. 

Canada Goose does not show up in the Oeko-Tex Buying Guide of companies known for using responsibly sourced materials. They are not certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which independently reviews apparel manufacturers based on organic, ecological, and social criteria.

Ethical Consumer has a reference to Canada Goose under an article related to the history of successful boycotts telling how, after years of campaigning by PETA, the company agreed to transition from using virgin fur to repurposed. A transition they are still working on.

Is Canada Goose part of any organizations to “prove” their sustainability?

Canada Goose tells us they’re involved in the following sustainable organizations:

We searched these sites and found very few details on their involvement and activities with them. From what we can tell, most of these memberships are new and have happened since 2019, when Canada Goose committed to becoming sustainable. That’s when they became a bluesign® systems partner with the goal of earning the bluesign® label for responsibly and sustainably sourced materials by 2025. 

The company does show up as being certified as following a Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and says their goal is to use 90% Preferred Fibers and Materials by 2025, as defined by the Textile Exchange of which they are a member.

It will be interesting to look at Canada Goose and their level of involvement with these organizations once we get to 2025, which is when they say they will meet a number of their sustainability goals. It will be important to see if they become certified by, or join other organizations that will make them more transparent to consumers about how earth-friendly their products are.

It’s a start, but Canada Goose has a long way to go before we can say they are sourcing mostly sustainable materials.

How Sustainable Are the Manufacturing Processes of Canada Goose

In the apparel industry, manufacturing is the biggest cause of climate change inducing waste and emissions. From wasted fabric on the cutting floor, to the chemicals used on materials and the carbon output from operations and making apparel – these all have a huge impact on our environment.

With little to no transparency, it’s hard to say if Canada Goose product manufacturing is sustainable. If they meet their bluesign® certification goal by 2025, we will know more about how sustainable their manufacturing is.

The sustainable shopping guide Fairify rated Canada Goose an E, or Terrible for criticisms of their sourcing policies. This rating is due to having no specific targets in their supply chain for sustainability goals, and a lack of information about labor practices.

Where does Canada Goose produce their products?

According to their manufacturing page, at the start of 2020 they were employing 4,591 Canadians making the majority of their products in company owned facilities in Montreal, Toronto, Scarborough, and Winnipeg. They say they are moving forward with improving the environmental impact of their production in company owned facilities, and they’re taking steps to achieve better transparency in their supply chain operations. 

  • Fashion Checker gave Canada Goose a 1 out of 5 stars due to their lack of transparency in their supply chain and labor practices. 
  • WikiRate gave them a zero rating for a lack of transparency in their supply chain, living wages, or having anything more than a basic pledge to be sustainable. 
  • They do not show up as having Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certified facilities. This independent agency certifies manufacturers as safe, lawful, humane, and ethical. 
  • Canada Goose doesn’t show up as a member of the Fair Labor Association.
  • Their lack of transparency is a problem for KnowTheChain, an organization that brings to light the issue of forced labor in supply chains. According to the site, most of the requirements have not been met by Canada Goose to verify their labor practices.

What does Canada Goose do to reduce their CO2 emissions?

Though they’ve commitmented to investing in renewable energy in 2023, we couldn’t find information on their progress toward this transition other than what the company tells us. They say their goal is to stay carbon neutral, meaning not increase outputs from where they are now, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2025. They tell us they invest in carbon offsets. 

When we looked at sites like Climate Neutral and Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label, which work with global companies to help them reduce their emissions, we didn’t find Canada Goose to be participating in their programs.

Using a life-cycle assessment, the company says their new HUMANATURE Standard Expedition Parka generates 31% less carbon than their traditional design. While this may be a step in the right direction, these are emissions from one product. We need to know about the rest.

What does Canada Goose do to reduce their water consumption?

In their 2020 Sustainability Report they tell us their new design for parkas uses 68% less water than their traditional parkas. Their sustainable outerwear page says these products use undyed fabrics which reduces the amount of water used. We couldn’t find data to verify this other than what the company tells us.

As a bluesign® systems partner the company will be monitored for sustainable manufacturing practices, such as efforts to reduce water consumption. After they’ve worked on this a few more years, we will know from the bluesign® reporting how well they’re doing to reduce water and energy waste.

What does Canada Goose do to reduce their chemical usage?

Recently becoming a bluesign® systems partner means their manufacturing is now monitored to ensure they are reducing their use of chemicals that harm the environment. But the verdict is still out since they have not yet completed the steps to earn the bluesign® certification. 

The company says their sustainable outerwear is made with limited amounts of chemicals. This will be verified as they welcome more oversight by sustainable apparel organizations.

Which organizations has Canada Goose joined to showcase their social sustainability?

When it comes to their social responsibility we didn’t find independent organizations with details on Canada Goose in this area. They are not a certified B-Corporation, they aren’t part of Fairtrade International, or a member of Business for Social Responsibility. They aren’t a member of the 1% for the planet organization, which represents companies who give back 1% of their sales to help environmental causes.

We can only hope that their efforts to responsibly source fur and down, and their work toward earning a bluesign® label for their products, are their first steps toward being sustainable. If they continue joining organizations that can help them work on this, we may one day be able to call them sustainable, but not yet. They’re going to have to prove it first.

If a company is serious about becoming sustainable in their manufacturing they join organizations that verify their efforts. Since Canada Goose has recently started doing this, they may eventually be considered sustainable. But they’ve got a lot of work to do.

How Sustainable Is the Packaging Used for Canada Goose Products

Nearly half of the plastics made are for product packaging. While some packaging is necessary or is required by law, some of it isn’t needed. Since plastics are made with fossil fuels, can’t be easily recycled, and take hundreds of years to break down, they are a huge contributor to the carbon footprint and waste caused by product manufacturing.

Like most issues with sustainability at Canada Goose, their packaging is no different – they’re working on it. They may have goals to reduce packaging and use recycled, but they don’t give details on what those are.

How much packaging do they use?

Canada Goose tells us they have a sustainable packaging work group focused on reducing the amount of packaging they use. Their plan is to have only sustainable solutions for packaging by the end of 2025.

We only have what the company tells us on how much waste reduction they are currently doing in their packing processes, which isn’t much.

How sustainable is their packaging?

Canada Goose says their stores use 100% recycled paper shopping bags. In their Sustainability Report they highlight one of their stores in the US that is repurposing poly (plastic) bags for shipping warranty returns. According to the report, they have a waste diversion task force to find more ways to reduce their waste. 

We hope to see more in future sustainability updates from the company on waste reduction, especially in their manufacturing. While it’s good to see them taking these initial steps with packaging they have a lot more work to do.

How Sustainable Is the Usage of Canada Goose Products

Having sustainable products also means making them durable so they last. It is estimated that 64% of garments made end up being disposed of in landfills within a year after purchase. So it’s important to know if Canada Goose makes their products to last so people keep using them for a long time.

Being an apparel brand that is trendy and fashionable means they’re talked about as to who’s wearing them, not how long they last. Some reviews lead us to think Canada Goose products aren’t very durable. These are two really big reasons the company needs to look at how easily their apparel can be recycled.

What Is the Lifespan of Canada Goose’s Products

The lifespan of a product is the period of time from when a product leaves the manufacturer to the moment it becomes obsolete. When it can’t be used anymore and is discarded. 

While Canada Goose has initiatives to repurpose warranty products and the Canada Goose Resource Centres, a program that sends their surplus materials to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami people of the North, they don’t talk about addressing what happens to their products when they reach end-of-life.

The company’s sustainability efforts aren’t focused on durability and lifespan as much as the materials they use to make products. Perhaps once they make progress toward using preferred materials they’ll begin looking at the durability and recyclability of their products.

Are Canada Goose’s products designed to last?

Though they promote their outerwear as made to withstand harsh elements, they don’t talk much about how long they’ll last. We found no information that tells us they’re designing their products to be more durable and last longer.

When they talk about the end-of-life of their products in their sustainability information they tell us how they are working to repurpose materials from warranty returns to make more apparel. Their plans to become sustainable don’t mention current efforts to make their products last longer.

Can Canada Goose’s products be considered fast fashion?

Canada Goose apparel is pretty pricey. For most people the label is more of a fashion statement than a sign of durability. Minimalism Made Simple doesn’t list them in the 25 top fast fashion brands, but then they’re mostly known for being trendy, not durable.

The company doesn’t promote their outerwear as being made to last, but they do offer a lifetime warranty which is not something you get with fast fashion.

How Is the Quality of Canada Goose’s Products Rated

When a product is rated as being high-quality it reflects on its durability and lifespan potential. If it is made poorly or from inferior materials, it is not likely to last or be rated very well by consumers.

While Canada Goose talks about using high-quality materials for their apparel, they don’t give us details on those materials so we have to take their word for it. 

How do users rate the quality of Canada Goose’s products? 

The product review site Trust Pilot only has a few dozen reviews on Canada Goose products. Of these reviews the average customer rating is a 2-out-of-5 stars. The majority of the poor reviews mention the quality is poor, and problems with customer service and warranty returns. Reviewers say it was difficult to return products and they were not happy with the replacement or repair provided.

If their products are not proven to be well made, they likely have a pretty short lifespan. Because the Canada Goose brand is known to be a fashion statement, it feels like the company’s success is built on being fashionable and not as good quality, long lasting outerwear.

How Sustainable Is the End-of-life of Canada Goose Products

The company tells us nothing of their efforts to recycle their garments or if they know what happens to them when customers are done wearing them. The only indication they may be working on this is in their goal to stop purchasing new fur in 2022, and using only reclaimed fur from warranty returns. This keeps at least some of the materials they use out of landfills for a while.

Most of the news we’ve read about Canada Goose is on their commitment to go fur free. While this sounds great, when we dug in we found out this will be done by using reclaimed fur from returned warranty garments. It is not that they will discontinue using fur completely, only that they have a goal to use reclaimed fur. They are not listed as a member of the Fur Free Alliance.

It looks like their efforts to be sustainable are focused on reclaiming fur and reducing emissions, which does little to address the lifespan and what happens when customers are done with their products.

Reclaiming fur is a step in the right direction to acting responsibly and supporting a circular economy. It’s what they do in the future to reclaim other materials that will show us how well Canada Goose supports a circular economy.

How Circular Are Canada Goose’s Products

Making products that are circular means preventing waste and reusing materials to make more products once garments are no longer usable. Though some Canada Goose products say they are made using recycled materials, they don’t give details on where they source them. 

The company needs to be more transparent about how and where they source materials before we can say that they are supporting a circular economy.

Circular economy: A circular economy within the textiles industry refers to the practice of clothes and fibers continually being recycled, to re-enter the economy as much as possible rather than ending up as waste. | A circular textiles economy is in response to the current linear model of the fashion industry, in which raw materials are extracted, manufactured into commercial goods and then bought, used, and eventually discarded by consumers.”

Wikipedia

As they increase their use of recycled and preferred materials their products will become more circular, but they also need to think about how their products can be recycled. Being high end outerwear that’s trendy means their customers may only wear their apparel while it’s fashionable. Canada Goose needs to consider what happens to their products once a design is no longer trendy and customers are no longer wearing it. What happens to it when it’s disposed of?

Sourcing more sustainable materials doesn’t mean they are paying attention to what happens when their products are disposed of. They need to work on ways to repurpose and recycle their products once they reach end-of-life. 

Are Canada Goose’s Products Made for Recycling

Natural fibers, like cotton, are usually the easiest to recycle as they can be taken apart and reused as thread or yarn to make more material. Synthetics, on the other hand, aren’t easy to take apart for reuse. So, the types of materials Canada Goose uses to make their products impacts how easily they can be recycled.

They may be making efforts to use recycled material in their products, but there’s no signs they are concerned about whether their products can or will get recycled.

Other than reclaiming fur from their warranty returns, they don’t tell us much about what they’re doing to take back and recycle their apparel or use natural and organic products that are easier to recycle. When it comes to manufacturing, the company says they are testing ways to do more to recycle and repurpose their warranty waste. They talk about performing audits and working on ways to decrease energy and materials waste. We haven’t seen anything in their sustainability plans that says they’re paying attention to their product’s end-of-life.

There is little evidence that Canada Goose products are designed to be recycled. Though their recent efforts to use recycled materials is a good beginning, we hope to see more from the company in the future about how they will tackle what happens to their products when they’re no longer wearable.

Will Canada Goose’s Products Go to Waste at Their End-of-life

No matter how durable a product is, it will one day no longer be useful. When it comes down to apparel it is becoming critical to avoid having it end up in landfills, which reports say is where nearly 80% of our clothing eventually goes, meaning that only about 20% ever gets recycled.

When it comes to reducing waste and improving recyclability, Canada Goose says they are working on waste reduction efforts. They don’t say that they are doing anything to recycle their products when they reach their end-of-life.

From where we sit, it looks like Canada Goose products are destined for landfills. The company has put a little effort into diverting their products and giving materials new life, like with reclaimed fur, but there’s a whole lot more that needs to be done. 

Though they’re improving processes and plan to source 90% Preferred Fibers and Materials (PMFs) by 2025, which would make their products more circular, this doesn’t address what happens to them when they reach end-of-life. They’ll need to be more transparent about how and where they source materials and care about what happens throughout the entire lifecycle of their products before we can say that they are supporting a circular economy.

Is Canada Goose Involved in Any Charities Promoting Sustainability

Their involvement with Polar Bear International (PBI) is an ongoing commitment from Canada Goose in supporting environmental protections. This article highlights the company’s involvement with PBI and the conservation organization’s efforts to protect polar bears in the Arctic.

An article in Fashion United revealed that Canada Goose hired Bill Nye The Science Guy to help them get their sustainable act together. The article reports the same information the company released in their 2020 Sustainability Report. Hopefully, Bill will be able to help them and their next report will show some progress toward their goals.

Here’s How Sustainable Canada Goose Says They Are

You have to do some digging to find sustainability information when you go to the Canada Goose website. We were able to find their sustainability page, which is where we found a 2020 Sustainability Report and details on what they say they are doing to be sustainable. Through these we learned how they started taking actions in 2019 and details on their plans to be sustainable.

To understand where Canada Goose stands on sustainability nowadays, let’s quickly have a look at their backstory and current company structure.

How Did Canada Goose Start and Where Are They Now

Canada Goose is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It started under the company name Metro Sportswear, Ltd. and quickly grew due to being an exclusive provider of gear to Canadian government offices, such as the police and rangers. The company now sells outdoor apparel direct to consumers and wholesale to retailers around the world.

  • 1957, founded by Sam Tick who had worked in the apparel industry as a fabric cutter
  • Early 1970s, began specializing in down-filled jackets and heavy-duty parkas.
  • 1985, began making apparel under the Snow Goose label.
  • Early 1990s, began distributing in Europe under the name Canada Goose.
  • Early 2000’s, the majority of revenue was from licensing designs to other companies.
  • 2010, opened an office in Stockholm, Sweden where they run their European operations.
  • 2017, initial public offering as GOOS on Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.

What Is the Sustainability Strategy of Canada Goose

We found a sustainability page on their website, which talks about their commitment to nature and a cooler planet. This is where we found their 2020 Sustainability Report, that tells us these are the goals they’re working on and actions they are taking.

  • In 2020, eliminated use of single-use, non-recyclable plastics from their company operations.
  • By the end of 2021, use only 100% responsibly sourced down material in company manufacturing and require it within their supply chain.
  • By the end of 2022, stop sourcing new fur and use only reclaimed
  • In 2022, buy only renewable energy and invest in the installation of renewable energy sources. 
  • By 2025, become carbon neutral in their direct and indirect emissions. These are the emissions from direct company activities and due to where they buy their power.
  • By the end of 2025, divert all post-consumer warranty waste from landfills, which consists of defects and customer returns, and use only sustainable packaging.
  • By 2025, 90% of materials used will be preferred fibers, meaning recycled or organic.
  • Continue investing in Arctic conservation and Polar Bear International’s research.

Canada Goose has not issued a 2021 report to confirm they are on track with these goals.

What Sustainability Marketing Messages Does Canada Goose Share

In their email messages, Canada Goose promotes their HUMANATURE products designed for people and the planet. Their homepage features their outerwear, a few of which mention they are sustainable. It took a minute to find details as to what makes these products sustainable, which it turns out means they have some recycled content. This is the only mention of what might make them eco-friendly.

Greenwashing: behavior or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”

Cambridge Dictionary

Considering their Sustainability Report talks mostly about their intentions to become sustainable, and we don’t see a lot of evidence of this in their products yet, it makes us wonder if they are really committed to becoming a sustainable brand.

How Does Canada Goose Compare to Their Competitors

If you want to buy outerwear that is made sustainably there are a number of brands out there that have been working on making eco-friendly products for a lot longer than Canada Goose. And there’s data out there to prove it.

How Can You Buy More Sustainable Sports Products

As a consumer, you’d want to verify what the company says on its website about their sustainable practices. Yet, you have to watch out for the companies that use marketing buzzwords to sound good but don’t stand behind those claims.

Here are some organizations that certify companies as sustainable and provide ways to search for them:

With all these resources and a few minutes of your time, you can quickly check-out how eco-friendly a company might be before your next purchase.

Final Thoughts

Throughout their 2020 Sustainability Report we read about Canada Goose’s recent efforts to become a sustainable brand. They make a lot of statements about performing waste audits and doing things like using recycled paper in their offices and supporting some environmental and social causes. This is all great but it barely makes a dent in the impact an apparel company can have on the environment and our communities. 

If Canada Goose wants to call themselves a sustainable and socially responsible company they have a lot more work to do before they’ll get there.

Stay impactful,



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Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

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