Keila is not your average runner. Not by a long shot. She’s attempting to beat the world record of running across the entire continental United States in under 68 days, a record previously set in 1978 by South African, Mavis Hutchinson.
Being able to attempt this seemingly impossible task isn’t something that just happened over night. Keila is in the top 1% of U.S. ultra-distance runners.
She started running from Los Angeles on July 1 and is planning on arriving in New York City (where she’s a full-time school teacher) on Aug. 31. She will be running 50 miles per day, on average, by herself. Cariloha is Keila’s chief clothing sponsor, providing her with incredibly soft Bamboo Fit clothing to make her run a little bit comfier.
Keila Merino, at nine years old, immigrated with her family to the United States from Mexico. In that challenging transition, she gained confidence and a sense of identity from running. Today, the New York City teacher encourages her students — mostly children of immigrants — to overcome life’s challenges one step at a time. Her extraordinary mission: run across America in 68 days or fewer — and raise $1 million for children’s health initiatives.
For Keila, this commitment stems from years of serving young people as a teacher and running coach in the Bronx. “Teaching kids by example is extremely powerful,” she says. “I hope to inspire our youth to believe that anything is possible.”
Featured in the New York Times as both a passionate educator and a fearless competitor, Keila ranks among top female finishers at distance races across the country. By attempting the Guinness World Record, Keila will raise awareness and funds for the NYRR Mighty Milers. This program aims to get kids moving, build their self-esteem, and teaches them to set and reach goals.
You can follow Keila on Instagram @keilarunstheusa to get daily updates and to cheer her on. Better be quick, though. She’ll be running across your state any day now.