This Woman Used Ultrarunning to Heal from Abuse

Devon Yanko is on a long run near Mount Tamalpais, the hilly, coastal state park just north of San Francisco. As the miles tick away, images of her life scroll through her mind like a virtual scrapbook. The longer she runs, the deeper it goes. “When I’m running, especially an ultra distance, I spend a lot of time ruminating,” Yanko, 35, says. “You can’t hide from the past. At a certain point, you’re going to get worn down.”

For Yanko, now a professional ultrarunner, running became a way not just to escape the trauma from her past, but to overcome it. “When you’re in the middle of a 100-mile run, there’s no level of positive thinking that can override the pain of that distance,” she says. “As a person who spends a lot of time in my inner world, when I’m out there running, that’s not a process that shuts down. It becomes more acute.”

But what, exactly, is she running from?

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