Ten racers run from Bears Ears to Salt Lake

Last week ten Native American runners participated in a 360-mile prayer run from San Juan County to Salt Lake City.

The Running As Medicine Indigenous Youth Prayer Run began on Tuesday, September 1 at Bears Ears National Monument and concluded at Warm Springs in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 5. The run was organized by nonprofits SLC Air Protectors and the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake.

One runner, Michael Charles, says he hopes the run reminds indeginous people how strong they are as a community. “We’ve had a lot of hardships and struggles this year,” he said, “but it’s a run to bring hope and reminders that we are a strong people, and we can really accomplish what we need to do, and we’re still here, and we’ll still be here after all this.”

The prayer run was an opportunity to raise awareness in tackling issues facing native communities including COVID-19, race relations, water, electricity, and census counting.

Runner Jordan Daniel has been dedicating every race she’s done in the past year to raising awareness about the epidemic of missing and murdered indegious women and girls.

“I’ve dedicated a prayer and a mile to a specific person saying their name, offering prayers for their families, and their community,” said Daniel. “Offering healing and then hoping for justice for their families and for our communities that are going through this.”

The runners ran from Bears Ears to Monticello on day one, Monticello to Moab on day two, Moab to Price on day three, Price to Utah County on day four and Utah County to Warm Springs in Salt Lake City on day five.

Daniel explains how a prayer run is more than just going for a jog. “A prayer run for me is about surrendering yourself for a higher purpose and meaning.

“Giving up that space and making space for others that are no longer here or that you can’t be with. Thinking about them, praying for good medicine and healing for them.

“It’s not about you; it’s about your connection to the land and your connection to those that you want to be praying for.”

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