On Monday, March 28, 2016 the run team of The Longest Walk 5 took to the high desert of Sandia Pueblo through Tesuque. The Longest Walk 5, War on Drugs and Domestic Violence, had to continue forward through Santa Ana Reservation, Algodones, Pueblo of San Felipe, Service Road 841, NM interstate 16, 25N, then on to East Frontage road, West Frontage Road to make it to Santa Fe Downs racetrack. After the racetrack, runners continued to run on highway 285, just past Tesuque. This path led the way for the runners to make their way to Taos, New Mexico later in the week.
The runners took on 44 miles, but not without help from the local runners who graciously took on the challenge. AJ McCook, local friend from Wagon Burners, recruited his daughter Pafshudi McCook and some of her young friends to help for the day. The youngest runner at age 8, Saniya Winchell, ran with strength and beauty. She was joined by her friends, Jasmine Diaz, Teddy Torivio, Marley Lujan, and Heather Chavez. The girls collectively took on about 10 miles of the total 44!
What’s even more inspiring about these young runners, is the work they do in the community. The girls participate in local running events such as the “Pueblo Crossroads Fun Run” that joins the communities of the pueblo in running. The girls run for their communities, but they also run for their people. Brands such as Nike endorse these runs and events so that young Native American athletes can create positive experiences in sports and physical activities. Nike offers different incentives for runners who take on athletic challenges throughout the year. Last year, the young runners of Sandia Pueblo participated in multiple events, and received gear from Nike such as t-shirts, backpacks, water bottles, and other sports gear, to support their athletic endeavors. Way to go girls!
The Longest Walk 5 will continue to Santa Fe Downs racetrack on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 and then to Taos later in the week.
Carly Presher contributed greatly to this article!
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