My amazing son RJ
My mother, Yolanda Holder, has always been an inspirational figure in my life. She has been and continues to be a woman of integrity, grace, and compassion.
In 2010, Yolanda broke the Guinness world record for completing 106 marathons in a year. She excelled against all odds including my own pessimism and scrutiny. Numerous people including myself wondered why she would dedicate so much time and money to what we perceived as an unworthy cause. What type of person would spend every weekend, a significant amount of money, and risk injury pursuing such an extreme physical challenge? That person is Yolanda. She sets a personal goal and will literally risk bodily injury to complete it. Her passion and dedication to fitness, in particular walking, has propelled her into a celebrity (in the walking community).
Currently, she utilizes her influence to motivate other adults to become physically and spiritually fit. While traveling the country, she runs into men and women from all walks of life. She listens to their stories of struggle and achievement. Afterwards, she celebrates an individual with a special story on her blog www.myjourneytoguinness.blogspot.com . Yolanda’s blog is an online platform designed to bring awareness to the benefits of walking but also serves to praise the unsung heroes that participate in marathons. In addition, Yolanda has spoken at several events to marathon enthusiasts about marathon related matters.
Yolanda’s altruistic behavior and dedication to her craft has had a direct impact on my life in particular my education. During the time Yolanda was completing her goals, I was in unsure of my future. I had previously dropped out of college and was not utilizing my potential. However, after seeing Yolanda’s dedication and persistence toward her goal I enrolled back into college to finish my bachelor’s degree. Each semester I enrolled in the most classes possible to graduate within a year. I am happy to say that I completed my goal.
After finishing my bachelor’s degree and graduating with honors I applied for graduate school. I was unsure if I wanted to pursue an MBA or a master in communication. I choose to enroll into both programs simultaneously. After watching my mother complete her goals I believed I could do anything. I was scared and unsure if I could finish both programs in two years while teaching two undergraduate courses at the state University I was attending. Watching my mother do some of the incredible things she does has influenced me to push myself in ways that most human beings wouldn’t. I am proud to say that in May I will be graduating with both my MBA and a masters in communication from two different Universities. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I am not the only person that Yolanda has inspired. Having the privilege of being Yolanda’s son I get to absorb her charisma and grace on a consistent basis. Throughout her marathon career Yolanda has touched countless men and women and have inspired them to complete their personal goals. Not only is she my hero and a symbol of excellence, she is a proud African-American woman. Not only is her journey to Guinness astounding, she is a trailblazer working effortlessly to bring more African-Americans to the marathon trail.
Rogelio R (RJ) Holder