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Zuni Runners

contributed by Tanya Sheka, Zuni Pueblo

The Zuni Fitness Series

The Zuni Fitness Series is a Community based event which is held annually at the Pueblo of Zuni during the summer months.The Zuni Fitness Series has achieved a remarkable reputation with the help from local and surrounding area businesses for creating diabetes and health awareness in the Zuni community and regionally throughout the southwest. Each year the Z.F.S. enrolls more than 1,000 individuals in exercise and running events that span over a four month period from May through August. T-shirts trophies and other awards are used as incentives to attract individuals from the Zuni community and elsewhere to participate in the events. We have created a tremendous community event where health screening and fitness awareness are promoted while everyone has a lot of fun being physically active. For further information call the Zuni Wellness Center @ (505) 782-2665.

Zuni Roadrunners

The Zuni Roadrunners is a student/teacher/parent exercise club which was started by Ms. Jennifer D. Holmes of Zuni, New Mexico. The program, which has been featured on Albuquerque TV stations and at numerous wellness and health education conferences around New Mexico, incorporates weekly exercise into the schools' curricula. Teachers, parents, and students make a commitment at the beginning of the school year to run or walk 50 miles by the end of the year. Careful records are kept in each member's "jog log" and teachers integrate the exercise program into other subject areas, such as math, science, geography and art. When a participant reaches 50 miles he or she is awarded a t-shirt. The t-shirts are designed by students who vote on their favorite design. Other rewards are presented to those who go over 50 miles.

With the help of Wings, Boehringer- Mannheim Corporation and the Zuni Fitness Series, 226 t- shirts were awarded in 1992. The teachers and parents who coordinate Zuni Roadrunners believe that a lifestyle, which incorporates the ancient Native American tradition of running and staying fit, will help students become healthy, positive adults who will be able to survive the pressures of drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, obesity and diabetes which affect many Indian communities.

A:Shiwi Running Club

A:Shiwi Running Club was started in 1994 by five runners who wanted to get more of the community involved in running. In 1994 the target group of runners the members wanted to attract were the youth of Zuni. During the first meeting of the newly formed club over 50 youth of various ages showed up to run with some of the club members. Since its formation the club has gone on to win numerous awards in the male, female and coed divisions in many of the races that they have entered. For the past two years, the A:Shiwi Running Club has been represented in the Boston Marathon.

Boston 1994 - For the six members of the A:Shiwi Runners Club , now known as the A:Shiwi Running Club, 1994 was a year to remember. Five of the members had qualified to run in the prestigious marathon, with the sixth member, Joe Dishta, willing to support the others by accompanying them and running the race unofficially. Gordon Quam, Abner Lupee, and Lavina Barber all met qualifying marks at the Duke City marathon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jeromey Chavez and Tanya Sheka met their goals by qualifying at the Las Vegas marathon later that same season. This newly formed group of pioneers were the first contingent from the pueblo of Zuni to run in the Boston marathon. Lavina Barber the lone Navajo amidst her friends from Zuni represented the A:Shiwi Runners in the 98th running of the Boston marathon. Tanya Sheka opened the door as the first Zuni pueblo woman to run in the Boston marathon, with others to follow her lead in the following years.

Boston 1995 - The A:Shiwi Running Club now had a few more members at the 99th running of the Boston marathon. Returning runners were Jeromey Chavez, Abner Lupee, Albert Chopito, and Gordon Quam. During this run Brenda Othole-Quam and Rodney Lupee also ran in Boston as part of the A:Shiwi Running Club.

Boston 1996 - During the 100th running of the Boston Marathon the A:Shiwi Running Club will once again participate in the 26.2 mile race. Results of those runners will be entered as soon as it is received.


Photograph courtesy of Richard Lynch © Richard Lynch

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