100 Miles of Summer: Kayla Jeter’s Mission to Transform Lives through Movement


, by Fabienne Lang

Photography courtesy of: Kayla Jeter

Join Kayla Jeter’s inspiring ‘100 Miles of Summer’ challenge this summer. Perfect for all fitness levels, this annual movement challenge encourages a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Imagine running along the shores of Lake Michigan, heading towards the bustling Navy Pier. You pass Millennium Park and jog by the famous Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean. Then, you weave through an iconic grid of streets and follow a riverside path, surrounded by towering buildings showcasing a mix of architectural styles. This is what running in Chicago feels like.

This is also what Kayla Jeter experienced when she moved to Chicago and started running seven years ago. “It was a new city, a new environment, and I wanted to get to know the city more intimately,” she shares. “I consider myself an adventure runner, so I love to see a city by foot. I also wanted to rewrite my relationship with running. I wanted to define what running looked like for me.”

FOLLOW Kayla Jeter on Strava

Kayla Jeter, originally from Ohio, now calls Chicago home. She's a wellness consultant, digital creator, and a former professional volleyball player. As a Strava member and global ambassador for Lululemon, she founded the inspiring running and movement community, ‘100 Miles of Summer.’

Kayla Jeter has fostered a thriving run community in Chicago. Photography courtesy of: Kayla Jeter.

Kayla promotes the mindset of being one percent better each day and is dedicated to helping people live healthier, happier lives, with a special focus on women and the Black community. In that vein, each summer she encourages everyone to join her ‘100 Miles of Summer’ challenge.

JOIN The 100 Miles of Summer Challenge

100 Miles of Summer

100 Miles of Summer is a virtual, global movement challenge that originally started in 2018, leveraging walking, jogging, running, and rolling for better health,” Kayla explains.

The goal is simple: log 100 miles from May 1 to August 31. To join, participants simply sign up, walk, jog, run, or wheel 100 miles between May 1 and August 31, record their activity on their preferred tracking platform (such as Strava), and upload it to the beta tracker. The challenge has done so well it grew from just 12 participants in its first year to over 260,000 from around the world last year. “It’s designed to get people moving during the summertime, to hold them accountable,” Kayla emphasizes.

We’re trying to get people moving, investing in their health and their wellbeing.

The challenge is meant to be accessible for all fitness levels, not just avid runners or cyclists. It encourages people to become part of a community and challenge themselves in new ways, ultimately supporting a healthier, happier lifestyle.

In addition to the virtual challenge, Kayla organizes in-person monthly meetups. “People come to de-stress, take some time to meet other people and join a community,” she shares. She also hosts free strength classes for those signed up to the challenge. “I explain to people the importance of resistance training for bone health and longevity,” she says, underscoring her commitment to supporting participants' overall well-being.

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Even though 100 miles might sound like a lot, it becomes much more achievable when spread over four months – the length of the challenge. “That’s 25 miles a month, or a mile a day for five days each week,” Kayla breaks it down. You don't need fancy gym kit or long workout sessions to get going. “Start where you’re at,” encourages Kayla. “Track your walking commute or go run during your kids’ soccer practice. You can count that as well. We’re trying to get people moving, investing in their health and their wellbeing.”

Photography courtesy of: Kayla Jeter

Even for Kayla, a retired pro athlete, running that many miles initially felt daunting when she first moved to Chicago after retiring from professional volleyball. Transitioning from sprinting across a 30-foot volleyball court to covering 100 miles on her own was a significant change. However, her desire to help people realize they have the power to improve their daily lives kept her motivated. “I also wanted to diversify the sport. It’s a pretty homogenous sport for the most part. So I wanted to invite people from all races, paces, and faces to find a space that feels good to them,” she emphasizes.

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Kayla works extensively with communities on the South Side and West Side of Chicago, where fitness and wellness programs are often lacking. “When you think about who's most commonly or frequently affected by chronic illnesses, whether it's heart disease or cardiovascular issues, it is those minority communities,” she explains.

I also wanted to diversify the sport... I wanted to invite people from all races, paces, and faces to find a space that feels good to them.

She asked herself: “How can we create things where people feel like they can come and move their bodies and de-stress and also take care of themselves?” The ‘100 Miles of Summer’ challenge is one such opportunity.

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This year the challenge is shaped by Kayla’s community. Participants will beta test the ‘100 Miles of Summer’ tracker and have exclusive access to the community hub. The community hub offers announcements, special discounts, direct access to coach-related questions, and a place to connect with other members.

Through this challenge, Kayla is not just promoting fitness – she’s fostering a supportive community and encouraging people to invest in their health and wellbeing for the long run.

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