NACA’s 2021 Sacred Mountain Prayer Run – A Source of Healing & Prayer
The Sacred Mountain Prayer Run is back, and virtual in 2021!
It’s that time of year again, the time to get out your running shoes and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul with Native Americans for Community Action’s (NACA) annual Sacred Mountain Prayer Run. However, there is one twist. It will be virtual family races! This way you get to experience the physical and spiritual healing attributes with your family, on your time, staying safe, and taking in all that nature and physical activity have to offer. Tallerita Tunney-Rogers, Director of Community Development at NACA, stated the significance of the run is that, “Indigenous people have been running for a variety of reasons, from sending messages across large distances as well as for the healing benefits of running.”
The Importance of Traditional Medicines & Prayer
Physical activity has been used as a traditional method of healing and meditation among the indigenous people for many years. Particularly in Arizona, Native Americans run on a daily basis to not only enrich their spiritual health, but also strengthen their bodies and stay in shape. Ms. Tunney-Rogers said for her, “the pull of running as a form of prayer speaks to me especially as an effective way that was passed down to me from my dad to manage difficult times in life.” Although this practice is not done throughout all indigenous tribes, the concept of combining physical wellbeing with spiritual wellbeing to connect and heal one’s inner soul with the earth does resonate with everyone, even those of other religions.
In regards to the physical health benefits, Ms. Tunney-Rogers said that “running can also serve as a form of meditation that contributes to mental resilience and wellbeing.” Tribal cultures also use herbs, ceremonies, and prayer harmoniously together as ways of treating and preventing illness while improving their overall health. Unfortunately, the younger generations are falling away from these traditions passed down from their parents and grandparents. The more these traditions are not followed, the more tribes will experience diabetes, which was almost unheard of less than 100 years ago. This is why it is important to note the healing properties that stem from running, while also incorporating prayer to keep one’s spiritual journey intact.
NACA’s 2021 Sacred Mountain Prayer Run Details
NACA is committed to help fight against diabetes and obesity around their community with bringing activities and events that promote a healthy and active lifestyle. As one of the longest running foot races in Flagstaff, AZ, the Sacred Mountain Prayer Run represents a time honored tradition of connecting one’s physical wellbeing rooted in nature all while focusing on your spiritual and emotional wellbeing as well. Our organization wants to keep the indigenous people’s traditions alive because of the physical and spiritual properties practiced that ensure everyone is staying active, but also not forgetting their heritage and that spiritual health is vitally important when combined with your overall physical wellbeing.
In the past, the race has started just outside of historic Downtown Flagstaff at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks, which offered many twists and turns for a challenging and rewarding course. Since the race is being done virtually, due to COVID-19 safety regulations, the participant will get to choose where they wish to race, how long either 2k, 5k, or 10k, and complete their race within the events timeline starting from May 30th and ending on June 5th, 2021. Ms. Tunney-Rogers, who also oversees many other programs associated with NACA like the Reach UR Life, LIFE Program, and the Supportive Services, pointed out that the event would, “host up to 200 runners, however race participation has fluctuated significantly over the past 5 years.” She added that since the race isn’t a fundraising event for NACA’s Supportive Services programs and won’t be competitive, “there are no place prizes, however, we will be providing participation medals for paid registrants.” If you would like to make a donation to the Supportive Services, you still can during registration whether online or in-person. With the race conversion being a virtual event, it allows individuals to register online, but you can still register in-person at both NACA locations through June 3rd, 2021, with registration packets being mailed out to all participants.
For the community, Ms. Tunney-Rogers ended on this note,
“running as a form of healing and prayer have been a part of the Indigenous culture…I invite the entire running community to join in on the conversation about how running has benefitted them by using #RunFlagstaff #2021SMPR and tagging us @NACAFlagstaff.”
We hope you will join in on the fun this year and use running in a way to heal you mind, body, and soul.
To register for this wonderful, life-fulling event, visit nacainc.org/prayer-run, or to request a mailed registration form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about NACA or how you can get involved with our organization, please contact us today.