Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
Save Our Little Lake Valley
Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
For immediate release
June 22, 2015
Native American Spirit Runners to Arrive in Willits, June 26
500 Mile Relay Run to Culminate in Celebration, Prayers for Mother Earth
Returning for the second year, Native American Spirit Runners will arrive in Willits on Friday, June 26th at 1 pm, culminating a week long 500-mile relay race marathon. The runners will assemble at the south end of town at the Evergreen Mall in Willits where community supporters will be welcome to join them. The runners will run relays down the length of Main St. to Bud Snyder Park, (Willits City Park), one block east of Main Street on Commercial Street, for a rally.
At the City Park, the Spirit Runners will be welcomed with refreshments and plenty of water, followed at 2 pm by speeches from members of the team and local supporters, including Priscilla Hunter, tribal representative of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Willits City Council member, Madge Strong. Songs and prayers will be part of the ceremony.
The Spirit Run organizers provide the following message about the nature and purpose of this marathon:
“The Spirit Run follows the leadership and tradition of early Native American runners who were messengers. It is a multicultural group of individuals dedicated to preserving the tradition of spiritual running. Our principal message is “All Life is Sacred”. We run and train together in different locations about once a month. In June, we run across California in our annual 500 Mile Spiritual Marathon. It’s a non-competitive relay where teams of runners participate in a running prayer by carrying a sacred staff. Runners will often pray for those who are sick or in prison. We also pray for the preservation of sacred Native American sites and Mother Earth. At the end of each day, the teams gather in a circle to drum, sing songs, and participate in ceremony and share stories.
The emphasis in our events is spirit, not only running ability. We have men and women runners from many cultures and of different ages. There are also non-running team members who support the runners by driving vehicles, preparing meals, setting up camp etc. During the year the team also participates in service projects for those in need… All of our events are alcohol and drug-free.”
“Last year’s event was attended by over one hundred people. We are very happy to have the Spirit Runners here again this year,” said organizer Kim Bancroft.
See Spirit Runner’s website California 500 Mile American Indian Spiritual Marathon