My name is Yolanda, aka "Walking Diva." In 2010, I broke an eight-year record for the "Most Marathons Run in a Calendar Year" by a woman by power walking 106 marathons.
I'm very proud of my accomplishment for two reasons: I'm a power walker, and as a walker we don't get much recognition. Also, I'm 53 years young, and I am a member of the new generation of women who are redefining athleticism.
In 2008, I challenged myself to finish 50 marathons in 52 weeks. I exceeded that goal; and power-walked 65 marathons. Once I achieved that goal, in 2009 I reached an even higher goal of 77 marathons. That's when I decided to check the Guinness Book of World Records for the most marathons run in a calendar year by a woman, which was 100 marathons in one year.
On this journey to Guinness I found myself spending a lot of time alone. During each race I would meditate, pray, and visualize the finish. I found myself scheduling races back-to-back and sometimes in different states on the same weekend. I experienced one of the biggest highlights when I raced in four different races in four states in three days. I traveled by car and plane from California to Idaho, Arizona, and Colorado to make these races. The most challenging experience was racing in three events totaling 107 miles in less than 29 hours. My favorite race experience was the Long Beach Marathon in October. The course was beautiful, with miles of southern California's ocean views, and the weather was perfect for running.
Through this journey, I recognized my own strength and confidence and I began to trust and believe in myself. It truly became a spiritual journey, and walking became my serenity. I had a lot of support from family and friends, but my biggest support came from God. It took commitment and discipline. It took courage to admit to myself that I was afraid, and once I got over the fear and started believing in myself, I realized anything is possible with passion and desire.
I'm setting a new Guinness World Record, "Greatest Mileage Run Daily in a Year." I must run (power walk) a minimum of 25 miles daily. Being a marathoner, I'll power walk 26.2 miles or more daily to reach a goal of 10,000 miles by July 1, 2012. My mission is to raise awareness about the benefits of power walking, which leads to a healthier and happier lifestyle. I hope to empower, motivate, and inspire people to take their health and fitness seriously and help fight obesity through walking. I hope to be an inspiration and a leader to many.
Keep believing in yourself and your dreams.
Sign up for a walking event.
You can follow Yolanda Holder's journey to 10,000 miles on twitter@WalkingDiva365 or her blog at walkingdiva365.blogspot.com.