of runners from across the country will converge in Washington,
DC on Halloween Day (Sunday, Oct. 31) for the 35th Marine Corps
Marathon and several runners from the Cherokee Runners group will
be in the pack. A total of six members are planning to run in the
event including: Gerri Grady, Robin Swimmer, Stephen Swimmer, Chris
Reed, Jimmy Oocumma and Brian Burgess.
Cherokee Runners that are participating in the 35th Marine Corps
Marathon are a diverse group from all age groups and walks of life,
said Grady, an EBCI tribal member and member of the group. Each
one has trained at his or her own pace with the encouragement of
the entire group as well as from all of our families and the Tribe.
We will represent the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians with pride.
26.2 mile race will start near Arlington Memorial Drive and wind
through the streets of Washington. Grady related that a 10K race
is also being held in conjunction with the event and the following
Cherokee Runners are scheduled to participate: Dawna Paul, Pam Sneed,
Marlene Arch, Brian Driver, and Gradys husband Sean.
president of the Cherokee Runners, ran in last years event,
something he doubted was possible 10 years ago as he laid in a hospital
room recovering from very serious injuries sustained in a parachute
accident that occurred in Washington state while on a fire-fighting
wasnt until I met my wife Robin and started tagging along
with her and her sister (Gerri) to races that the spark was rekindled
for me to get back involved with running, he said. So,
when we all decided to set goals for each other, I mentioned how
I had always wanted to run the Marine Corps Marathon with all my
fellow Marines that didnt make it back home from the war with
me. My family talked about it and decided that this would be the
goal we all should shoot for.
ran, and they finished.
vowed to do it again, Swimmer said. This time, with
the spread of news from family and friends about the race, we were
able to entice several more members from the reservation to take
up the challenge with us.
marathon is one of the most grueling events in all of sports and
training takes many hours pounding the pavement in preparation.
said training for this event is what initially spurred the interest
to start the Cherokee Runners. He said he began slow and started
with walking for 20 minutes a day and then increased that to running
20 minutes a day. Soon, he found he could run the length of the
entire Oconaluftee Trail (approx. 3 miles).
can do this, he said. Whats so neat about running
the bigger races is that everyone has the same goal which is just
focus on making it to the finish line walk, run, or crawl.
One of the biggest obstacles is getting over the competitive feeling
of placing first. In this endeavor, its all about pushing
your own limits. You dont have to worry about finishing last
finishing is treated as a winner.
concluded with, So, as a former Marine, I say come take up
the challenge. Run