Brooklyn born Mirna Valerio has just celebrated her 40th birthday in an unusual fashion – by completing the grueling Javelina Jundred 100km ultra marathon in the mountains of Arizona.  While this might surprise many, challenging convention is Mirna’s specialty. 

Raised in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn by a robust matriarch, Mirna grew up with a love of reading, sports and music.  Mirna remembers being thin in 2nd grade, but filling out by the time she was 12 or 13. Her mother was obese and diabetic, and it seemed Mirna and her 3 siblings might follow suit.   Mirna sang R&B with her mother and sister, taught herself the piano and soon impressed the music department at her school – who rewarded her budding talent with free piano and voice lessons.

Soon she was auditioning for Juilliard’s Pre-College Division program – an audition that she nailed!  Throughout her high school years, her musical talent and her achievements on the field hockey and lacrosse teams complimented Mirna’s academic prowess. 

Mirna accepted a scholarship to The Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences and  Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Ohio, pursuing music and liberal arts.  She majored in Spanish and vocal performance and kept physically active.  She chose to pursue a career with KPMG working in the legal and consulting fields in New York City after graduation, met her husband (a native of Burkina Faso) and later took a job teaching music at the Masters School.  

As work pressures, combined with a son who had joined the family and developed severe asthma, Mirna’s weight peaked at over 300lbs.  A visit to the doctor and a diagnosis of morbid obesity prompted Mirna to sign up for a 5km run… and the rest, as they say, is history.  Mirna’s obsession with running saved her life – and has inspired countless people around the world to do the same.

Follow Mirna’s Journey on her blog!

Mirna will be speaking at our Pre-Event Dinner on March 16, 2018. Reserve your spot now!