On the chilly morning of Saturday, February 8, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members, employees and families came out to Salt River High School for a 5K run and/or 1-mile walk. This was no ordinary run/walk; electronics of any kind were not permitted. The people ran or walked as a form of prayer, a prayer intended for their family, their loved ones, the Community and themselves.
“Last year when we had the Unity Run that involves the four sister tribes, it was re-routed to pass the [high] school. After that happened, we had a lot of runners who wanted an event to get ready for the Unity Run in March. So by combining a run with the social gathering, it would help prepare for the annual run in March,” said LaRue Smith, executive secretary for SRHS.
Smith explained that it is important for the youth here on the Community to be proud of who they are and the things they do, like run as a way of prayer. After brainstorming for months, Smith was approached by Rachel Seepie, a fitness coach at the Salt River Fitness Center, to discuss the idea of having a 5K during the same time as the social gathering.
“We wanted to get the Community more involved with preparation for the Unity Run,” said Wi-Bwa Williams, school security officer lead. “We wanted it to be family friendly. We wanted this run to include not only the Community members here, but all the workers, students and their families who come from other places. We are many tribes here, but when we go to school here, work here, we’re one nation.”
Approximately 60 participants came out to do the 5K run or 1-mile walk. Youth accounted for a third of the participants.
“I think it was a success. We don’t measure by quantity; there were people out there who wanted to be out there. Parents with strollers came out; youth of all ages were there, elders and families,” added Smith.
For more information about the monthly 5K runs at the high school, call Rachel Seepie at (480) 362-7349. For more information on preparing for the Unity Run, call LaRue Smith at (480) 362-2085.