Vanessa Felts has an adventurous spirit and thrives on mental and physical challenges. She also has a deep desire to love God and love others in tangible ways. What inspired Vanessa to follow in the footsteps of her close friend, Deyl Kearin, was the way he combined adventure, personal challenge, and global citizenship in the first Run4Poverty Sahara race.
Vanessa was further inspired to train for the second leg of Run4Poverty when she learned that 93% of microfinance loan recipients worldwide are women, who are creating businesses to provide for their families. She decided to set her goal with the One Woman Initiative, empowering one woman for every kilometer she runs.
Prior to signing up for the 2013 Gobi March, Vanessa had never run an official marathon, but had competed in triathlons and a few half-marathons. She is confident that months of training, the support from her community, as well as a fierce commitment to run for women in poverty will see her through to the finish line.
Vanessa grew up in Moorpark, California and majored in Communication Studies and English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where she still resides. She works as a Behavior Analyst, providing school consultation, parent education, and in-home treatment for students with Autism and related disorders and their families.
After the Gobi March, Vanessa plans on resuming her other hobbies, which include hiking, paddle-boarding, and yoga, though another endurance race is already tempting her.
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