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The Inland Empire Walking Diva, Yolanda Holder, is at it Again, Breaking Unthinkable Goals

Yolanda Holder

Yolanda Holder

By Cecilia Harris

Yolanda Holder is a twice Guinness World Book record holder, a mother of two grown children, a wife, a power walker, and a goal achiever.  Seven years ago, when she turned 50, she wanted to challenge herself to do something different in her life.  Her kids were in college.  So she decided to walk – power walk – 50 marathons in 50 weeks.  She did not succeed.

Instead, in October 2008 when she finished her 50th marathon (Silicon Valley Marathon) she realized that she still had more time left in the year.  So she completed 65 marathons in 52 weeks.  This was her start that has no end.  In 2009, she went on to complete another 77 marathons/ultras.  She would complete an ultra marathon (50K) on a Saturday and then complete a marathon on a Sunday.  It wasn’t until November 2009 that she realized that she was different—so different that Runner’s World has yet to do a story on her—because she is NOT a runner.  Yolanda has never been a runner.  When you are runner, you can slow down and walk.  But when you are a walker, how do you slow down?  You are already walking!  It is not easy to be a power walker.  But no one said life was easy.

After contacting Guinness to find out if there were any other women who had completed more marathons in a year, she completed 106 in 2010.  Her first World Record.  But runners were still not giving her respect. 

In 2011, she cut down on her events and only completed 50-60 marathons.  She was still referred to as “just a walker.”  And in her mind she was not an athlete.

But 2012, she was determined to set the record straight – a second Guinness World Record!  She not only completed 120 events, but she power walked three 100-milers, two 50-milers, 40 50Ks, and 75 marathons in one year.  Bam – in your face runners!  Yolanda was now a world champion walker; and an athlete.

2013 brought a total of 300 lifetime marathons before having major surgery in November 2014.  And on February 14, 2015, she hit the mark for 500 lifetime marathons/ultras. 

It was in Alaska at her first 6-day event.  She power walked 403 miles, placing 3rd for women and 10th overall out of 100 runners.  Only about 15 Americans competed.  The multiple-day ultra is more popular around the world than in the United States.  But that may be changing. 

Yolanda has since completed two other 6-day events (getting on the podium in all three) and will be competing in her first 10-day event “Sri Chinmony 10 Day Race April 19 – 29, 2016, Queens New York.  Yolanda will be breaking Sutushi Lang (USA)  19 year record (510 miles) and will be the second American Woman to run or walk a 10 Day Race.

Yolanda believes the human body is amazing.  “If you treat it well – run, walk, ride a bike – the body will achieve what the mind believes.  Physical, mental, anything – it can be done.  Positive thinking and believing – believing got me through it,” proclaims Yolanda.

After losing her father in 2003 and then her mother in 2013, Yolanda needed to honor her parents and take a stand against Type 2 diabetes.  With her sponsor, Nissan, she walked from Corona to Oakland – 525 miles – to raise funds and awareness for the devastation that diabetes has and is causing in the African American community.  She believes that you don’t have to be a runner. You don’t have to go to the gym 7 days a week.  But you have to be responsible to yourself and move.  A little today, a little more tomorrow, a little to save your life so that your kids don’t have to keep picking up the phone to call you only to remember that you are gone – too soon.

Today, there are lots of people who have done a 5K or a 10K.  The numbers of participants in half marathons has exploded.  And it is not elite athletes that are building these numbers.  It is the middle-aged woman who decided that she didn’t want to sit on the couch anymore.  It is the young girl who has joined her girlfriends to walk for a cause.  And soon, the ultra – the 100 miler – is going to be the new 26.2.  Because you don’t have to win, you just have to complete.  And if you want to win, that’s okay too.

Today, Yolanda has completed 527 lifetime marathons/ultras.  She is competitive, but she still will make time for a selfie or two out on the course.  He father would always tell her, “I can never help my family,” and she lives this as well being one of eleven siblings, three with diabetes.  She inspires who she can.  This is her lifestyle.  She believes the average person can do anything.   Know your goal.  Stick to your plan.  Believe.  Achieve.

Local Moreno Valley Young Entrepreneurs Open Up Hair Supply Store

Moreno Valley Entrepreneurs

By Naomi K. Bonman

For some time now, many African Americans have complained that there were no Black owned hair supply stories and that the Asians were dominating the hair industry. Through the midst of the complaints, no one was doing anything about it until now.  Two young entrepreneurs from Moreno Valley, California decided to quit talking and to be about it!

The Davis sisters, Kayla (19) and Keonna (21), have opened KD Haircare Supply located at 24453 Sunnymead Blvd. Although the city has a high population of Blacks, there is not a large mass of Black owned businesses, so KD Haircare Supply is definitely a major milestone for both the city and for other millennials who aspire to work for themselves and making a living while doing it.

We salute these two! If you’re in the area make sure you stop by and tell them that Westside Story Newspaper sent you. Also be sure to follow them on the social networks @kdhaircarellc or visit www.kdhaircaresupply.com.

 

BLU Educational Foundation Opens Thoughtful Dialogue Confronting Issues of Self-Image, Personal Achievement, and Relationships during Women’s History Month Screening of “The Souls of Black Girls”

Panelist Zumar Zamaan (back center) pictured with students who work closely with Dina Walker

Panelist Zumar Zamaan (back center) pictured with students who work closely with Dina Walker

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – – BLU Educational Foundation (BLU) launched a thoughtful dialogue this month with the community screening of the award-winning provocative news documentary, The Souls of Black Girls. The screening was held Thursday, March 24 at San Bernardino Valley College and included a post-screening panel discussion with thought-leaders from the Inland Empire Region. The panel also included local students who work closely with Dina Walker, founder of BLU.

Dina Walker, Founder of BLU, pictured with community leaders (l to r) Hardy Brown II and Jonathan Buffong

Dina Walker, Founder of BLU, pictured with community leaders (l to r) Hardy Brown II and Jonathan Buffong

“Our objective was to provide a safe environment where the community could come together to discuss socially relevant issues facing African American girls and women,” said Walker. It’s important for all women to have a healthy self-image. We’re optimistic that this discussion will extend well beyond Women’s History Month.”

Panelists included Zumar Zamaan, a local writer; Dr. April Clay, a counseling consultant; Faith Ellis, an English teacher; and students Davina Clay, Raihanah Medlock, and Breanna Smith. They each shared personal experiences and how they’ve chosen to navigate issues such as family dynamics, dating relationships and public perceptions of black women.

The screening also served as a precursor to BLU’s Soul Sister’s Leadership Academy and Conference slated for this summer and fall respectively. T-shirts bearing the slogan #BlackGirlsMatter can be purchased to support the Academy and participant scholarships.

Produced by rising filmmaker Daphne Valerius, The Souls of Black Girls raises the question of whether or not women of color may be suffering from a self-image disorder as a result of trying to attain the standards of beauty that are celebrated in media images. The candid piece features interviews with young women discussing their self-image as well as social commentary from Rapper/Political Activist Chuck D, Actresses Regina King and Jada Pinkett Smith, PBS Washington Week Moderator Gwen Ifill and Cultural Critic Michaela Angela Davis, among others.