Weekends with Yankee Q&A | Mirna Valerio

Catching up with a Green Mountain State trailblazer and featured Weekends with Yankee guest.

By Ian Aldrich

Aug 29 2022


Mirna Valerio

Photo Credit : Courtesy of Mirna Valerio
Mirna Valerio
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Mirna Valerio

Over her decade-long run as a professional athlete, Mirna Valerio has finished 11 marathons and 14 ultras, including some of the most grueling trail races in the country. She has also garnered sponsorships from brands such as Lululemon, L.L. Bean, and Merrell, which—along with her blog, The Mirnavator—serve as a rebuke to an outdoors culture that is mostly white and obsessed with body types that don’t look like hers. “I just want to see what my body can do,” says Valerio, whose memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress, was published in 2017. “I want to know what the limits are.” We recently caught up with the Montpelier, Vermont, resident to talk about the magic of a New England autumn, favorite fall hikes, and where she finds respite from her busy schedule.

Q. What do you remember most about your first autumn here, after moving to Vermont in 2019?

I took my teenage son apple picking. We went to Burtt’s Apple Orchard in Cabot, and it was just this gorgeous day. Families were out, it smelled good, we had cider doughnuts—I mean, we did the whole thing.

Q. Is there a special place that you like to go hike or run in the fall?

One of my favorite, favorite, favorite hikes is a really short one at Chickering Bog Natural Area [in Calais, Vermont]. It’s maybe a mile out and back, and it’s just spectacular. At some point you get to this fen, and you can hear all these birds singing and you’re surrounded by this gorgeous forest. It’s so quiet and restful.

Q. What about some bigger peaks, for when you want to work up more of a sweat?

Stowe Pinnacle. It’s definitely a difficult hike and it can be technical in places, but you get these amazing views: Camel’s Hump, Mount Mansfield, the Waterbury Reservoir, a lot of the Worcester Range. Outside Vermont, I love the Cobbles in the Berkshires. It’s not long but you have these expansive views. You really feel like you’ve accomplished something. And of course there’s Mount Battie in Maine. The sunrise. You can’t beat it.

Q. Are there any hikes still on your bucket list?

I really want to do some of the 48 4,000-footers in the White Mountains. Actually, I’d like to do all of them eventually. [Laughs.] I can’t choose just one. Closer to home, I’ve never done Camel’s Hump—I’ve just hiked around the base. It’s one of the tallest mountains in Vermont, and it’s got that iconic shape. And then there are some other hikes on the Long Trail I’d like to do.

Q. OK, so having lived in New England for a while now, are you officially an autumn person?

[Laughs.] You could say that—I’m a fall baby, after all, and I really love the fall. But you know, I also love running in the snow. The colder it is, the more interesting it gets.

Mirna Valerio is featured on season six of  Weekends with Yankee, which airs on public television stations nationwide. To find out how to watch, go to