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Retreat Leaders

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Mirna Valerio
Ultra runner, author, motivational speaker, diversity trainer, body positivity influencer

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Mirna Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, NY, a former educator, cross-country coach, ultrarunner, speaker, and author of the recently published memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress. Although she began running in high school, she recommitted to the sport after a health scare in 2008. It was then that her love for running and all its attendant benefits were reignited. She soon started her blog Fatgirlrunning, about her experiences as a larger woman

in a world of thinner athletes.


Mirna's athletic story was featured in the WSJ, Runner’s World, on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, on the CW Network, and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, The Mirnavator. Her writing has been featured in Women’s Running Magazine, Self Magazine Online, Outside Online, and Runner's World Magazine. Mirna was also chosen as a 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and was featured in a NYTimes article on Body Positivity entitled, Five People Who Can Help You Love Your Body. She has also been a guest on several major podcasts, including the Rich Roll Podcast and most recently, the Strava Athletes Unfiltered Podcast.


Shanti Hodges
Hike it Baby Founder
and owner of Wild Utah Tours

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Shanti Hodges is the founder of Hike it Baby, a nonprofit focused on getting families outside with birth to five year olds. She is also the owner of Wild Utah Tours, a guide business near Zion National Park 


In Shanti's past she was a writer for magazines like Outside, Men's Journal, Marie Claire, REI blog and other well-known publications. She has written two books (Women Who Run and Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Adventures with Babies and Toddlers.


She lives in Southern Utah with her husband Mark, 8-year-old Mason and their dog Sunny. 

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