When you hear the words “professional runner” what image pops into your head?
Most likely it’s some version of a skinny white male in tiny shorts.
Let’s just say Mirna Valerio is here to smash that stereotype — and completely redefine what it means to be an accomplished endurance athlete.
She’s not White. She’s not a dude. And she isn’t skinny.
She is a total badass of her own design.
Back for a long-awaited sequel to RRP #340, Mirna is back to drop truth bombs left and right on all things body inclusion, identity, and diversity in the outdoors.
”It's always a surprise to me that there are people who run that don't think they're runners. If you use your body for running and it's something you do regularly, then you are a runner.Mirna Valerio
For those new to Mirna, aka the force of nature affectionately known as The Mirnavator, she is one of the most inspirational athletes I have ever met — a true ambassador of sport on a mission to empower humans of all shapes, sizes, colors and genders to proudly embrace their bodies, expand their horizons, and own their personal truth.
Today’s conversation picks up where we last left off, spanning her evolution into a full-time sponsored running professional to her work as as a diversity and inclusion educator.
We talk about identity, and the way in which we see ourselves as the lens through which we interpret the world.
We discuss the difference between body inclusion versus body positivity and acceptance.
When you don’t acknowledge that racism actually exists–that my experience may be different from yours because I’m black and you are white–then you are absolutely perpetuating racism.
– MIRNA VALERIO
We talk about everyday racism in the outdoor world and industry–and the work required to assess and overcome our own internalized unconscious beliefs.
And it’s about defining your values and embodying them in your actions–day in and day out.
Mirna’s joyful self-acceptance is both real and rare. It’s authentic and bold. And it’s as infectious as it is inclusive. She is totally unapologetic, far from sheepish, and 100% herself.
I must confess: after almost 130 days in relative quarantine, melancholy has crept up on me. But there is something about Mirna’s gleeful demeanor that cheered me up.
I think she will cheer you up as well. Enjoy!
Peace + Plants,
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Check out Mirna’s book: A Beautiful Work In Progress
- Connect with Mirna: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
- Mirna’s Online Class: Introduction to Identity, Social Justice, and Antiracism for the White Community
- VIDEO: REI Presents: The Mirnavator | REI
- Runner’s World: How to Be an Ally to the Black Running Community
- Good Morning America: Ultra-athlete gears up for 100-mile race
- National Geographic: This Ultramarathon Runner is Redefining What an Athlete Looks Like
- CNN: Plus-size runner leads the way for overweight athletes
- TODAY: Think you’re not made for running? These runners say think again by Amanda Loudin
- HuffPost: Mirna Valerio Brings Her Community Along With Her On The Trail by Julia Craven
- Women’s Health: Trail Runner Mirna Valerio: Stop Trying To Keep Women From Running And Hiking Outdoors
- Women’s Health: I’m Not Your Typical Ultramarathoner
- Runner’s World: Ultra: Is it possible to be fat and fit?
- Gear Junkie: Mirna Valerio Is a Skyrunning Inspiration
- HuffPo: Mirna Valerio Brings Her Community Along With Her On The Trail
- Runner’s World: Mirna Valerio Shares Her Advice on How to Own Your Run With Confidence
- Trail Running: Is trail running just for white dudes?
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