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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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
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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