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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 9, 2002 - Issue 56


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Native American Distance Runners to Speak at Fort Lewis College

runnerDURANGO, CO - Three nationally known Native American distance runners will speak at 6 p.m. March 19 in the Student Memorial Lounge of the College Union Building as part of Fort Lewis College's annual Hozhoni Days celebration.

Speakers include Brandon Leslie, a five-time all-American from Adams State College, Steve Gachupin, a six-time winner of the Pikes Peak Marathon, and Felicia Guilford, one of the nation's top high school distance runners.

"Running is a native tradition," said Reynaldo Yazzie, a sophomore cross country runner at Fort Lewis College and the organizer of the speaker series. "Historically, tribes have integrated running into their culture as a means of survival, recreation and religion. The people run as the sun rises as a part of their daily prayers, welcoming the new day."

Leslie, a Navajo, won seven state titles at Gallup High School, seven National Junior College Athletic Association titles at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, and an NCAA Division II championship at Adams State. He is currently ranked ninth in the nation at the 10,000-meter distance and is trying to earn a spot on the American team for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Gachupin, a Jemez Puebloan from Jemez Springs won six consecutive Pikes Peak Marathons from 1966-71. He was also one of the nation's elite marathoners, placing 15th at the 1968 Olympic trials. As track and cross country coach at Jemez Springs, Gachupin has led his teams to 14 AA state championships.

Guilford, a Hopi from Gallup is a four-time Footlocker National Cross Country Finalist and one of the nation's most-recruited high school runners. She is considering Brigham Young and Tennessee, among others. At a recent national qualifying race, she missed a trip to the world championships by just two places.

Admission to the Native American Distance Runners Speaker Series is free. The event is sponsored by Sky Ute Casino, the Durango Marathon, Durango Motorless Transit, and Wanbli Ota, the Indian student organization at Fort Lewis College.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fort Lewis College provided this article.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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