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.”

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out.


The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.


Listen to Verna Now!

Click here if you can't see the link below.

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

Website: www.nativewomenrunning.com

Instagram: @native_women_running

Facebook: @nativewomenrunning


Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.

Become my Patron