Yolanda Stevens

6 Star Finisher Yolanda Stevens

This issue is dedicated to the 6, to the amazing runners that spent the early part of marathon season 2023 running those majors that have netted them their goals of not only becoming part of the 1% club but also 6-star finishers. For the early part of 2023 thousands of runners finished London, Tokyo, and Boston marathons respectively and all took various journey’s to achieving those goals. Yolanda Stevens is one of those runners that snagged her 6 stars, and we have the chance to get some insight into her running journey.

MSM: Let’s go all the way back to the beginning before the marathons before the running. We all have that moment in our lives when fitness becomes a lifestyle. It’s usually because of something that is life changing. For me I like to call it a fork in the road where we have a choice to either continue the side of an unhealthy lifestyle or become more aware of the self-care that it takes to become better both mentally and physically. What was this moment like for you and when did you know it was time to make a change?

Yolanda: In 2011, I found myself in a place I never imagined I’d be…..depressed, the heaviest weight I had ever been, and in the middle of a divorce. I was the mother of two small blessings (my children), but I did not feel I was in the best place physically and emotionally to “pour” into them. My turning point came one day when I received a reality check from my “keep it real” physician. He reminded me of the list of medical issues that ran rampant through my family (Diabetes, heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure), then he asked me the life-pausing question--- “Do you want to be around to see your children graduate and get married?” I could have brushed it off as “he’s just trying to scare me”, but when I picked my children up from school that day, it really hit me. Something must change!

Although I had danced for most of my life, after suffering two ACL injuries I gained over 60 pounds due to inactivity. In 2011, I found myself at 235 pounds. My doctor’s warning was the motivation I needed to decide on a better quality of life; to decide that my children deserved a “whole” mother; to be the best me that God ordained me to be. The power of a “made up mind” is an amazing thing! What started as a decision to start moving, turned into a journey I would have NEVER imagined possible!

MSM: YOU are now a 6-star World Major marathon finisher. For those that may not know this is indeed a big and major flex in the run game and it’s not something that many achieve. The World Marathon Majors consist of Berlin, Chicago, Tokyo, NYC, London & Boston, 6 races spanning 4 different countries. Let’s get into how you got into marathoning. To run a marathon is not something you just do. It usually starts with an inquiry then explodes. What made you want to tackle the marathon?

Yolanda: A week after my doctor’s visit, I put my headphones on and ventured outside for a 2-mile walk. It was a perfect way to get moving and clear my head. After a few weeks of doing this 2-3 times per week, I decided to challenge myself and jog. My goal was to jog for 3 houses and walk for 5 houses, then repeat. Something amazing began to happen. My “cup” was filling. I began feeling better about myself. I had more energy and started to drop a few pounds. As time went on, I would add on a “run” house and

subtract a “walk” house, and within 5 months, I was running more than I was walking. Me!...running! I decided to add to my bucket list and run a 5k race by my birthday in April 2012. I ended up running a 10k instead! I shocked myself and cried a thousand tears as I crossed the finish line. At the end of that year, I ran my first half marathon and three years later, my first marathon.

MSM: There are marathons and then there are majors which have a different vibe all together. Take us through the feelings of running that first world major and crossing the finish on the last one. Also, when did you know that you wanted to capture all 6 marathon majors?

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