Photo by James Patrick

Age: 31     Location: Victoria, Canada
Gig: Supply Chain Specialist & Running Coach     Follow Her: @yhempler

“When I first started running, I couldn’t even run a block or walk up the stairs without getting out of breath,” says Yana. But she’s come a long way since then (like, a really long way). In May 2021, Yana set out to run 30 marathons in 30 days in support of raising funds for her local hospital. Not only did she smash that goal, she also collected $90,000 for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. For Yana, fitness and purpose are synonymous. “I attach meaning to my ongoing fitness journey through projects within my community,” she says. “It keeps me going when things get tough.”

“Take the first step. You never know where it’ll lead.”

While you might think this runner is all about clocking miles, Yana knows the power of creating balance, and also incorporates strength training, core training, and flexibility into her schedule. “If I just ran all the time, I’d be putting myself at risk for repetitive strain injuries,” she says. Next on Yana’s to-do list? Developing a charitable apparel line, creating a marathon training program for beginners, and completing all six World Marathon Majors (she’s already crossed off Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, and Berlin Marathon).

Mikaila Kukurudza
Mikaila is a Toronto-based writer, photographer, and fitness enthusiast. Follow her at @mikailakukurudza