From 100 mile trail runs to snowshoe races to the Iditarod, Diane overcomes obstacles to tackle any challenge
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Littleton, Colo., Diane left high school early to play on the women’s European pro tennis tour. She then attended University of Texas, Permian Basin, graduating with a degree in speech communications. Diane currently resides in Sedalia, Colo., with her husband and three children.
Diane has excelled as an elite athlete in a variety of disciplines throughout her career. As a child, she competed on boys’ baseball teams, showed her horse in local rodeos and won Colorado State Championship titles in both golf and tennis. Being named to the “All State Basketball” team her senior year resulted in college scholarship offers for both basketball and tennis.
Collegiate competition allowed Diane to focus on tennis, earning an All-American team designation for her singles play as well as a National Jr. College Doubles Championship. After graduation, Diane traveled throughout the United States and Europe as a sponsored professional tennis player.
When she finally settled down to raise a family, Diane shifted into a coaching role, teaching positive attitudes and self confidence. She balanced organizing neighborhood tennis programs and coaching junior basketball with her own training schedule.
Diane still makes time to compete at a top level, training with cyclists at the Olympic Training Center, running marathons and – since 2002 – competing in ultra distance events at the elite level.
Diane demonstrates her life philosophy by giving back to her community with a variety of groups:
Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado
Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center
Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute at Children’s Hospital
From summer camps for children with epilepsy to black tie fundraisers, Diane has shared her passion as a board member, celebrity spokesperson, camp leader and inspirational keynote speaker nationwide.
Spouse's Name: Scott
Children's name(s): Mike, Robin and Matt
What's your motto: "My legs serve as my words to inspire others to reach their own achievements. I appreciate each chance I have to touch a finish line".
Who's your role model: Any athlete or individual that walks the walk, talks the talk and takes risks and shows those opportunities with others
Pet's name: Duke, Black Lab
Best friends name: Scott, my husband
Who's the best cook and what's their best dish? Marylyn Collette, muffins
Favorite destination: Mt Blanc
Favorite movie: Anything with humor and a story
Favorite snack: Pretzels
Favorite book: Don't sit long enough to read books
Favorite magazine: Outside and National Geographic
As a TNF Hero- What's your theme music that get's you amped when competing/training/flaunting tricks? "Ain't no mountain high enough"
Favorite piece of history in your sport: Lighter trail running shoes
Your most recent epic: Canadian Death Race
Proudest Moment: The life lesson to teaching my children to say, "I can!"
Your most humbling moment: Being runner-up to Lance Armstrong for Outdoor Person of the Year
What have you always wanted to do? Write a book
What do you have a weakness for? Bigger challenges- personally
What are 3 things people should know about you?
1. I enjoy inspiring ad motivating others
2. I love to sing and write music
3. Variety and not getting key holed into the same everyday challenges
What inspires you in your sport? There is so much more about ultra running than winning races and setting world records.
What are the words you live by?
Never say "CAN'T". Dreams are only dreams unless we act upon them
If you could take a vacation, where would you go and who would you take? There are way too many places I would love to see. Antarctica and Australia, anybody who wants to explore and have an open mind!
What are 3 things you always pack when you go on a trip? Food, coffee, cash
Other Information: Diane Van Deren was diagnosed with epilepsy while she was pregnant with her third child. A strong and accomplished athlete and former professional tennis player, Diane continued to pursue her athletic passions, but after ten years of frightening and debilitating seizures she underwent radical brain surgery that removed part of her right temporal lobe. She hasn’t had a seizure since, and has gone on to become a world-class endurance athlete. She not only competes in 100-mile trail runs, but also snowshoe races and was a contender in the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska, where she pulled a sled packed with more than 40 pounds of gear (no canine help on this one) for 260 miles in below-freezing temperatures. Diane feels it’s important to share her personal story with others and has spoken at many events. “I enjoy talking about how we all have obstacles in our lives,” she says. “Mine was epilepsy.” She is also a spokesperson for the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute at Children’s Hospital of Colorado, which educates children on wearing helmets to prevent brain injuries. She lives in Sedalia, Colorado, with her husband and three children.
. 8th women’s - Hard Rock Trail, 100 Miler, Silverton, CO
. 4th women’s - Big Horn, 100 Mile Trail Run, Wyoming
. 4th overall - The North Face® 100, Outdoor Endurance Challenge, Beijing Changping
. 1st womens/4th overall - Yukon Arctic Ultra 430-mile, Whitehorse, Canada
. 3rd women’s - The North FaceŽ Endurance Challenge 50 mile, Midwest Regional
. Finisher - Tour de Mt Blanc 160 km, Chamonix, France
. 1st overall - Yukon Arctic Ultra 300 mile, Whitehorse, Canada
. 4th women’s - Bear Mountain Endurance Race, New York, NY
. 2nd women’s - Collegiate Peaks 50 mile, Buena Vista, CO
. 6th women’s - Lake City 50 mile, Lake City, CO
. 5th women’s - Hardrock 100, Silverton, CO
. 1st women’s - Canadian Death Race 78 mile, Edmonton, Canada
. 1st overall - 24 hours in Frisco Trail Run, Frisco, CO
. 1st women’s - Dances w/ the Dirt 50 mile, Hell, MI
. 12th women’s - Tour de Mt Blanc, Chamonix, France
. 8th women’s - Hard Rock 100, Silverton, CO
. 4th women’s - Big Horn 100 mile, Montana
. 3rd women’s - Collegiate Peaks 50 mile, Buena Vista, CO
. 1st women’s - McNaughton 150 mile, McNaughten, IL
. 1st overall - Tahoe Rim 100 mile, Tahoe, CA
. 1st overall - Big Horn 100 mile, Montana
. 2nd overall - McNaughten 100 mile, McNaughten, IL
. 3rd overall - Turquoise Lake 20 mile, qualified for national snow shoe event
. 3rd overall - Cascade Crest 100 mile , Seattle, WA
. 2nd overall - The Bear 100 mile, Preston, Idaho
. 2nd overall - Big Horn 100 mile, Montana
. 2nd age group - Collegiate Peaks 50 mile, Buena Vista, CO
. 6th age group - Leadville Trail 100 mile, Leadville, CO
. 8th overall - Hardrock 100 mile, Silverton, CO
. DNF - Iditarod Trail Invitational, Alaska, 250 miles on fractured ankle
. 1st overall - Alfred Packer 50 mile, Chatfield, CO
. 2nd age group - Collegiate Peaks 50 mile, Buena Vista, CO
. 2nd age group - Hardrock 100 mile, Silverton, CO
. 2nd age group - Lake City 50 mile, Lake City, CO
. 3rd overall - H.U.R.T. 100 km, Honolulu, HI
. 6th overall - Alaska Susitna 100 mile, Anchorage, AK
. 7th overall - Tour de Mt Blanc 160 km, Chamonix, France
. 1st overall - San Diego 100, San Diego, CA
. Denver Post, She won! - February
. "Women Who Run" book, Chapter 2, by Shanti Sosienski - September
. The Today Show, Katie Couric special on “Extraordinary Moms” - May
. Denver Woman Magazine, Profile of “Colorado Elite Athletes” - April
. Hooked on Outdoors Magazine, “Runner Up, Outdoor Person of the Year” - January
. Denver Post, Extreme Sports “100-Mile Road to Recovery” story
. Fitness Lifestyles Magazine, Fabulous Female profile - November
. Trail Runner Magazine, Teva “Everest Awards” & comeback stories - September
. “Colorado Outdoors” Cable Show: Documentary chronicling overcoming health issues - August
. Won 2005 Heartland Emmy award, produced by Jess Stainbrook, Douglas County Channel 8
. La Sportiva Trail Runner Trophy Series. “Ultramarathon Runner of the Year”
. Teva Everest Award, “Female Trail Runner of the Year”
. Colorado Rockies Awards Dinner, “Hal O’Leary Dedication Award”
. Colorado Sportswomen, “Comeback Award” at annual awards dinner
. Hooked on the Outdoors Magazine, “Runner up, Outdoor Person of the Year”
. Colo Epilepsy Foundation, “Achievement Award” & keynote address
. Sportswomen of Colorado, “Ultra Marathon Award”
. Yukon Arctic Ultra Race
. The Frozen Ultramarathon in Alaska