Originally published Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 02:04p.m.

Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Program has announced the course for the Running for a Stronger and Healthier Navajo Nation Relay Run that will cover 227 miles on July 8-15.

The 9th annual run will include the final nine communities out of the 110 chapters that haven’t been covered by the event. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez will be participating in the run and he encourages runners and walkers in communities along the way to participate.

The route will begin at Ramah Navajo Chapter proceed to Pine Hill then to Zuni Pueblo, Kamp Kiwanis off N.M .State Highway 602, Chichiltah/Jones Ranch School to Chichiltah Chapter. The relay run will go through Bread Springs Chapter, Red Rock Chapter, Tseyatoh Chapter, Manuelito Chapter, Lupton Chapter, Houck Chapter, Pine Springs Community, Saint Michael’s Chapter and conclude at the Navajo Tribal Council Chamber on the morning of July 15.

Lucinda Charleston, program managerfor the Navajo Special Diabetes Program, said the communities are excited about having the run go through their areas to give local runners the opportunity to participate in the relay run. Runners are being recruited by the local chapters.

“We appreciate all the chapter officials, community service coordinators, community resources, community members, people in allotted lands, Gallup McKinley County, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Navajo Nation in their cooperation to make this run successful as the run will go through different land areas and on different routes under different jurisdictions,” Charleston said. “This is a run to improve the health of our people in these communities as well as throughout the Navajo Nation. It is the way NNSDP can combat diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism, domestic violence, childhood obesity and other chronic diseases that affect Native Americans.”

The first day (July 8) will begin at Ramah Navajo Chapter at 6 a.m. with registration and the run will begin at 7 a.m. covering 42.6 miles that will go through Pine Hill and west to the Zuni Reservation Boundary.

The second day (July 9) will go from the Zuni Reservation Boundary with the Zuni runners into the Zuni Pueblo and end at Kamp Kiwanis on NM State Highway 602 covering 41.6 miles.

The third day (July 10) will start at Kamp Kiwanis, go through Jones Ranch/Chichiltah Community School; Chilchiltah Chapter, Bread Springs Chapter, and end at Red Rock Chapter which is a distance of 45.5 miles.

The fourth day (July 11) will start from Red Rock Chapter and proceed through Tseyatoh Chapter, Manuelito Chapter, and end at Lupton Chapter for a total of 37.7 miles.

The fifth day (July 12) will cover 32 miles starting at Lupton Chapter going through Houck Chapter, Pine Springs Community, and to the Summit on Arizona State Highway 264. The sixth day (July 13) will begin at the Summit to Saint Michael Chapter, and end at the Window Rock Fair Grounds and cover 24.6 miles. There will be no run on Sunday on the 7th day (July 14).

The eighth day (July 15) will start at the Window Rock Wellness Center on the Fair Grounds and end at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber (two miles) for the start of the summer session of the Navajo Nation Council.

Darwin Mitchell and Margilene Barney have been assigned to work with the chapters in organizing the run through the communities. Mitchell may be reached at Window Rock Wellness Center at 928-871-7870 and Barney at 928-871-6532

People who would like to participate by walking will be able to do so at each chapter where they will walk in with the runners as well as walk out with the runners.

Running for a Stronger and Healthier Navajo Nation was started in October of 2011 by then Vice President Rex Lee Jim.

“We would like to get our people moving through revitalizing our age-long tradition of running. That is why we are here to start this long relay run across our nation — our goal is to get as many people involve as we can in this run. We want this to be the people’s run. Even though you may not participate in this relay run today, you may run here at home throughout the week to improve your health. The whole purpose of Running for a Stronger and Healthier Navajo Nation is to get this Nation moving.” Rex Lee Jim, Navajo Nation vice president (October 16, 2011, Alamo Chapter).

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