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Verna Volker - From the Navajo Nation, Non-runner to Ultra Runner in 12 years.

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Verna is the founder of Native Women Running, a Hoka Global Ambassador, she serves on the Running Diversity Board, and represents several organizations: Red Earth Running Co, UltraRunning Magazine, and Native Women's Wilderness.

Verna in her own words:

“My name is Verna Volker and I am from the Navajo Nation.

My clans are Tódích'íi'nii (Bitterwater) nishlíi, Hashtl'ishnii (Mud People) bashishchiin, Ta'neeszahnii (Tangle) dashicheii, and Tó' áheedlíinii (Water Flows Together) dashinalí.

I grew up in the Dzilnaoodilii area of New Mexico, but currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota with my husband and four children. I work as a second grade teacher.

In 2009, I started my running journey to lose weight, but it has turned into a quest to find out who I am internally.

This journey has taken me from a newbie runner to a marathoner and recently to an ultra-marathoner when I finished my first Ultra 50-mile race.

My desire is to use my running to inspire others.”

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Listen to Verna Now!

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Show notes

  • Introducing herself in Navajo

  • Who is Verna

  • How the outdoors played apart of her life growing up

  • Loving sports but not being into running

  • Why Verna got into running

  • Signing up for her first Half Marathon in August 2009

  • Struggling with her weight

  • Falling in love with running

  • How her running journey progressed

  • Putting herself first and not feeling guilty

  • Having a 4th child

  • Becoming an early morning runner

  • Waking up at 4.15am…. to go running

  • Having female role models at the start of her running journey

  • Native Women Running - Founded on Jan 23rd 2018

  • The lack of visibility for Native women runners

  • Not seeing women who looked like her

  • Using the power of Instagram to create change

  • How Native Women Running has evolved over the past 3 years

  • Inter-generational trauma and the power of running to heal

  • Creating a call to action - MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women)

  • May 5th - National Day of Awareness for MMIW

  • Using running to heal trauma

  • The murder of native children and finding the reminds of native children in residential schools

  • Connecting with a running community

  • Coping with the trauma

  • Being resilient and being in a leadership position

  • Why it’s ok to detach yourself from social media

  • Magical moments while running

  • Deciding to run her first ultra marathon 50k in 2018

  • Running a 50 miler in October 2019

  • Why the ultra journey has been mental

  • Seeing her little girl at the finish line

  • Training and planning for ultra runs

  • Meeting her coach via Instagram

  • What a typical training week looks like

  • Keeping motivated to go running when not in the right frame of mind

  • Training for her next 100K (62 miles) race

  • Mental tips and tricks for running an ultra

  • Dedicating miles to lost love ones

  • Teaching 2nd grade and how working for Hoka is becoming a full time job

  • Advice for women who want to get into running

  • The power of being patient with yourself

  • Taking the next step to running an ultra

  • What hozho means

  • Final words of advice from Verna


Social Media

Instagram: @hozhorunner4

Native Women Running - Visibility, inspiration and community of native women runners on and off the reservation/reserve. Community. Inspiration. Motivation. Visibility. #nativewomenrunning


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