Film transcript - Mirnavator

You are a liar and a fraud. You are not a runner. I have seen your few videos where you actually pretend to run. What a joke! You are moving no faster than what I can walk. You expect people to actually be stupid enough to believe this sh-t. A true professional runner is not overweight, which is what you are. A person who runs marathons for a living is not overweight, which is what you are. F–k you! You want to further fat acceptance, and people to kill themselves in your perverse idea of beauty. F–k you!

And that email actually came while I was finishing up a 50 K. I was actually engaged in that activity that this person had accused me of being a fraud at.

I live in Rabun Gap, Georgia, which is in the north Georgia mountains.

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, which is very different from Rabun Gap, Georgia. And I was born and raised there.

My name is Mirna Valerio, and I am a teacher, an ultra runner, a mom, a writer, a blogger, a singer, a diversity practitioner, and lots of other things.

Nobody in my family did anything athletic, so like it was foreign to me, just doing exercise – on purpose. It was absolutely foreign.

I love my body the most when I’m out running. Even if it’s hard, even if I’m having a bad day, like, I know I have my body. And it works, and it’s allowing me to do this thing, so like, I feel really strong and powerful, and in that I feel beautiful.

So this summer I am booked almost every weekend, um, with races and other events. The first thing I have going on is a half marathon in Boulder, Colorado, and the following week I have a trail marathon in Massachusetts. I have a 50 K up in Vermont, and then that’s when I start tapering for Trans Rockies.

I never thought that I could run 18 miles one day, then 10 miles the next. And ah, but I can. Oh my god. Okay. Alright. My body got this.

We are in Black Mountain, North Carolina, at the Black Mountain Monster 12 and 24 hour race. One of the reasons I’m here, is number one so I can be with my friends, I have a bunch of friends here, and uhm, we all love to do trail running, and hang out and camp.

Ah, the other reason I’m here is because I wanted to get my first 50 K of the season out of the way.

So uhm I’ll be running and hiking and crawling for 12 hours. So I’m hoping to do 30, 31, 33 miles ah today, ah, uhm and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I feel strong, I feel capable, I feel like I’m ready.

Love you guys.

I don’t know a whole lot about the course because I didn’t do any research. But I do know it’s pretty flat. But in trail runner’s speak that could mean there are rolling hills. It could mean that there’s 9,000 feet of elevation. So I don’t really know what to expect. I’ll just see when I get there.

Well I’m black. I’m a big girl. Actually nowadays people know who I am, so it’s not as big of a deal but before I would show up and I would get some looks, like, okay, what do we have here, alright, is she doing the 5 K? Is she walking? You know, people would just say things, sometimes, you’re kind of heavy to be out here running, maybe you should go to the gym. Yeah, people say stuff all the time.

I finished three loops which is 9 miles. It feels good, like I feel really strong. I had a salami sandwich, which is what I like to have, because it has lots of salt in it, and I’ve got my carbs in the bread, and my protein in the cheese. And I had some of my chips, my jalapeno chips, just in case my stomach starts acting up, coz somehow it settles my stomach. And a little bit to drink.

The course is awesome. It is, like there’s varied terrain. There’s like, really pristine single track trail, there’s double track trail, but yeah, so I’m ready to go. Finish some more loops.

It’s going okay. My back is still really stiff. But my legs are working. Sometimes they just work on their own, without any input from my brain. So that’s good. It just keeps me moving forward and ah yeah, I mean I’m tired, but I can do this. Like clearly. I’ve done 18 miles already. So I can do more. So I’m stoked about that.

See you in a bit.

Trail running is really hard. It’s not an easy thing for me. But I love that about it, that it’s not easy, but I’m still able to do it. I do it because I do want to show people that it’s possible.

You know, I may not be fast, um, I may be the last person, but for me that doesn’t matter.

Hello everybody this is the Mirnavator. And I am, ah, I just finished 9 loops and I’m going for my tenth. Which will be a little bit over 30 miles. And then I’m done.

I sound drunk. I sound drunk. Are you?

One more. We’re gonna do it with you. You got it.

This is my last loop and I’m ecstatic and in pain. My legs feel great, my back doesn’t. And ah, ya, I’m ready to finish. I’m really excited. First 50 K of the season.

I took out my cell phone to take a couple of selfies, with my friends, just to kind of document the experience coz that’s what I do, I love documenting the experience. So I can share it with others.

I stopped right in the middle of the trail and I really should not have been reading my email on the final leg of my 50 K, I shouldn’t have been but I was.

You are a liar and a fraud. A true professional runner is not overweight, which is what you are. You want to further fat acceptance, and people to kill themselves in your perverse idea of beauty.

There’s a little bit of emotion that comes to the surface, because it’s like why would somebody reach out to me and say that. Why would you want to do that? Why do you want to intentionally hurt people?

This is definitely the first time that I’ve gotten something that was so targeted and intentional to me personally.

I’m not a fraud. I run. I run slowly. And sometimes I walk. But I run. And I’m a big girl, I know that, but that doesn’t have anything to do with anything. I still get out there and run, and do what I need to do.

This guy had one idea of what a runner should look like, how fast a runner should be going and that people who have my body type or body weight really shouldn’t be out there. That was the message I got.

This is real. Fat shaming is real. There’s a reason why people have body dysmorphia. It’s because of things like that. And because people can be so mean. And so limited in their view of what a human body can look like.

I know the truth. The truth is that I’m a runner. I’m not a fraud. So I wanted to celebrate that, so I chose to concentrate on that, to focus on the good things that came out of the race. Because it was 99% good. Except for that one thing that happened with that email. That was not that person’s moment, it was mine.

Let’s get you warm. Oh god. My arms are about to fall off. I finished. I did 31 miles, which is 50 K.

Tonight I will be, I’m going to head to the showers and take a nice hot shower and warm up a little bit and maybe drink a glass or two of wine, and post something on social media.