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