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Redefining Runners – Live with Mirna Valerio and the Pansa Boyz

“I remember last year when I was running the New York City Marathon, I was somewhere in the Bronx but I was running – literally a marathon – and someone was like, ‘I see you fatass! Let’s get it!’ I was like, ‘C’mon, bro.’… That’s kind of wack. There was another time when Runner’s World did an article on my photos. They also mentioned I was a runner. One of the comments said, ‘Oh he should stick to taking photos because that marathon time is woof.’ To me, it makes me not want to put myself out there. As much as you say, I’m not going to read the comments…you’re going to read the comments. Again, being around these guys, they taught me that it doesn’t matter. The amount of DMs we get on our Instagram page is crazy. People are like ‘Thank you for motivating me. I felt so great today. It was hot and I took off my shirt. That to me, makes us keep on doing this.” – Jason Suarez

Mirna Valerio and The Pansa Boyz (Tyrone Alomia, Hector Espinal, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Jason Suarez) join the podcast in front of a LIVE audience to discuss how they are redefining what runners look like and creating inclusive communities to inspire all.

Mirna Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, NY, a former educator, cross-country coach, ultrarunner, obstacle course enthusiast, 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.

The Pansa Boyz are Tyrone Alomia, Hector Espinal, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Jason Suarez. Profiled most recently in Men’s Health, the four friends have connected over the positive impact running has had for them. As their profile in Men’s Health notes, “These four guys—who’ve adopted the nickname ‘Pansa Boyz’ (“panza” the word for “belly” in Spanish)—weigh almost a ton combined. Recently, they teamed up to relay both the North Face Endurance 50K Challenge and the Brooklyn Mile, the native New Yorkers aren’t slowing down anytime soon—at least not because of their size.”

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