Ten runners from across Indian Country recently participated in the Running as Medicine Indigenous Youth Prayer Run, which took place Sept. 1-5.
This run spanned 330 miles on foot, beginning at Bears Ears National Monument, passing through Price City and heading all the way up to Warm Springs in Salt Lake City. The purpose of this run was to bring healing and prayer for the communities that have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, running has been an integral part of Indigenous communities.
The primary focus was to strengthen the relationship between the Indigenous communities and the residents of Utah. The communities were welcomed to virtually participate in the support of the runners that were carrying the prayer and motivation of healing the anxiety and devastation of the pandemic.
“Warm Springs is an area that many Utahans are unaware of as it holds significance amounts the Ute Nations before the settlers arrived in Utah. Warms Springs was the first landmark before the capital ever existed,” a representative of the run stated.
Runners participating were from all over the country and affiliated with the Rising Hearts Coalition, Spirit North, SN7 and a group on Facebook of over 70,000 Healthy Active Natives. The run impacted Indigenous youth by assisting them form connections with Mother Earth and the community, which is crucial in the unsure times.