I run because I’m Hopi

I have been running regularly for the past twelve months. This winter I found myself running in all kinds of wet and frigid conditions. Sometimes when I run, I imagine myself on the dirt trails out at Hopi, and not the city streets and paths of Champaign, Illinois. But Hopis have a long tradition of running beyond the mesas, and I like to think that this tradition still exists in the Midwest.

I am not the only one in my immediate family who runs.  My wife is an avid runner, and our daughters refer to themselves as “Hopi runners.”  They are also Irish on their mother’s side and I often remind them that the Irish are known for running long distances as well. I hope they will appreciate this more as they get older.

My daughter is already quite the runner.  I am constantly amazed by her running form and how effortlessly she makes running appear.  She and her sisters are sure to run cross-country in middle and high school.

Some people run to lose weight or to relieve stress.  Others run to lower their cholesterol or blood pressure. Although these are great benefits of running, I tend to focus less on these reasons. A friend once asked me why I run.  I simply replied, “I run because I’m Hopi, and that’s what Hopis do.”

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

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