Ep 43: Doubt, Identity, and Vulnerability with Bad Ass Ultra Runner Devon Yanko

Devon and I on the Women Run Strong Panel before the 2017 London Marathon. 

Devon and I on the Women Run Strong Panel before the 2017 London Marathon. 

As if running 30-100 miles (often up mountains) isn't super human enough, imagine being one of the greatest ultra runners in the world. Well, Devon Yanko doesn't have to imagine it, she is one of the strongest ultra runners around. 

I could sit here and list her many accolades (OK, I'll list a few--from placing third in the 2016 Western States 100 to qualifying for and competing in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials (CLICK HERE to see Devon's race highlights), Devon is known for kicking ass and taking names both on the roads and on the trails. But what I love about Devon isn't just that she knows how to run her heart out, it's that she runs with her heart.

I know that sounds cheesy but I could sit and talk to Devon about life, running, set backs, break throughs, feeling defeated, inspired, or what it means to be a strong woman all day long. It's so rare to find professional athletes open up about what it's like to be a leader in the field and still have everything they say be so incredibly relatable. But with Devon, it doesn't matter if you're an ultra marathoner or if you just got bit by the running bug, she'll remind you that we all struggle. But if you take it one step at a time and invest in believing in yourself, you can't lose.

CLICK HERE to watch Life In A Day, the incredible documentary shot during Western States. (It's incredible.)

To learn more about Devon, you can keep up with her on Instagram, Twitter, on her website, or on Strava.

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.