ESPN to air film on Hopi cross country team

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In May of this year, I was interviewed by ESPN producer Scott Harves for a film on Hopi running and the Hopi cross country team. The interview took place in the Department of History library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

During the two-hour interview, Harves asked me to talk about Hopi culture and society, but most of his questions centered on the long history of Hopis and distance running.

Having won 26 consecutive state titles, the Hopi High cross country team has received considerable attention from media outlets, including a recent story by John Branch in the New York Times.

A 15 minute version of the film, Run Hopi, is scheduled to air on ESPN this Sunday July 24 at 10:00AM and 11:00PM (eastern time) on the SportsCenter (http://espn.go.com/video/sportscenter). It will likely be aired several more times throughout the summer.

A longer 30 minute version of the film will be aired on July 29 at 8:30PM (eastern time) on ESPN2.

To learn more about Run Hopi, and to watch a trailer of the film, see Andy Hall’s article on the ESPN FrontRow website entitled “Sunday’s SC Featured tells of Hopi reservation cross-country dynasty.”

Spending time with my dad on Second Mesa

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Last month I spent time with my dad, Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert, on Second Mesa. As some readers know, I often write and speak about his influence on my life and career. [See my post “Job Shadowing my Father, and my Path to Tenure”]

He, along with my mom and other members of my family, accompanied me to the Village of Shungopavi where I gave a talk on Hopi runners at the Louis Tewanima Footrace Pre-Race Dinner.

The photograph above is of me standing with my dad – right before I went inside the Shungopavi Community Center to present (below).

A special thanks to Sam Taylor and the Louis Tewanima Association for the opportunity to participate in their event.

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Paatuwaqatsi Run featured in Indian Country Today

“This is Screenshot 2015-09-02 08.53.36 copynot a race…It’s a remembrance run to keep the ancient trails alive.” – Bucky Preston, Village of Walpi

“It’s a monument to community, heritage, and preservation.” – Kim Secakuku

There’s a nice write-up about the Paatuwaqatsi – Water Is Life – 30 mile Hopi run in yesterday’s Indian Country Today. The article highlights Hopi understandings of running, and reminds Hopi and non-Hopi people of the “spiritual and cultural” purpose of running in Hopi culture. The event, which includes the 10 mile loop, will take place on September 12 at the Village of Polacca. For more information about the run, click here. Also, click on the following link to read the entire article by Lee Allen entitled “Hopi Run for Life Celebrates the Sanctity of Water.”

Running on a track

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Armory track & field – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This winter I’ve been running on the Armory track at the University of Illinois.

The last time I used a track was in high school.  Back then I was quite a bit faster.

Now days I plug along at a 10 minute per mile pace.

I am obviously not out to impress anyone, especially members of the UofI’s men’s or women’s track team who run circles around me during their practice.

But it’s a pace that I’m able to maintain, at least for a while.

There are benefits to running on a track, and there are a lot of things about running on the streets of Champaign that I don’t miss: Traffic, car exhaust, stop lights, curbs, potholes, imbalanced dogs, angry geese, angry people, extreme temperatures, and those darn concrete slabs!

When the weather warms up, I will once again take my place among Champaign’s outdoor runners.

But I doubt this will last for long.

As soon as the temperatures reach into the 90s, and we start experiencing high humidity, it’s back to the track for me!

New website to be launched on Hopi runners

HopiRunners.com logo

I have been working hard to develop a new website on Hopi runners: http://www.HopiRunners.com. The website will highlight the long tradition of running among the Hopi people of northeastern Arizona.

Here the public will find material on individual runners, links to photographs and videos, and articles and other sources related to Hopi running.

Every week, several people stumble upon BEYOND THE MESAS in search of information on Hopi runners. It seemed clear to me that an entire website ought to be dedicated to this topic.

I also want to highlight that the logo (above) for HopiRunners.com was designed by Wendell Sakiestewa of WenSaksDesigns. Wendell is Hopi, and he’s also a relative of mine.

The logo represents the continuity of Hopi running by depicting the transition of a traditional Hopi clan runner (far left) to a Hopi runner in modern running attire (far right).

I hope to have the website up and “running” at some point in February.