Youa Xiong Buchanan

Almost exactly 4 year ago, I was told by my OB/GYN that I was considered obese for my height and body frame. I was in disbelief and distraught.

Later that month, I decided I wanted to run a marathon. I wasn’t a runner, I didn’t even like running, and I wasn’t “in shape.” I ran my first 5K with no training, lost over 30lbs in a few months and finished my first marathon the same year. It started out for health reasons, but now it has become a lifestyle change and I became the first “Hmong Female” ultra-runner (Google Hmong) to enter the sport.

Unlike, most runners out there, I don’t have a prestigious running record, but I’ve done plenty of 5-10K’s, Marathons (Big Sur, Chicago, New York Marathon, and California International Marathon) 50K’s, and just recently completed a TRIFECTA marathon (3 states, 3 marathons, 3 Days) and a 50 Miler this summer. I am also working towards becoming a member of the World Marathon Majors club; it’s my long-term goal (2 down 4 to go).

For 2016, I will be running the Ultra-Thailand Chiang Mai 3 day stage race in the country where I was born to raise money for the villagers in the mountains. I will also be running my first 100 miler next year. My weekends now consist of long runs, chasing the sunset/sunrise, and going on spontaneous adventures and discovering new trails. It gives me the strength when I’m out there. Running is not only the act of physically running away from life’s troubles, but instead I’m running towards a solution.

Favorite quote-” Never stop dreaming. Never stop exploring. Never stop fighting. Never stop believing in yourself”