KELLY CONCHO HAYES 2007 Team Running Strong Marine Corps Marathon
The mile marker 25 came and went. My pace considerably slowed down. I was hurting. Runner’s passed me but then again I was passing runners as well. The great thing about running a big marathon is you will always be passing someone, you will never finish last, and there are thousands still behind you!
O, my god, mile marker 26 came and went. I was almost there! The .2 of the marathon consisted straight uphill to the Iwo Jima! Only the crazy Marines would think of something like that!
To some people I am sure it looked like I was walking but I ran across that finish line! I was done with 26.2 miles. My time 3:58.11.
THE GREAT THING ABOUT RUNNING FOR A CHARITY LIKE RUNNING STRONG FOR AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH IS THAT I WAS GREETED WITH OPEN ARMS AND A BIG SMILE FROM BILLY MILLS. How exciting is that!?!
As I look back on that brief 3:58.11 of my life, I feel proud to represent my family, my people, and American Indian youth. It was truly an honor. AND I would do it again in a heartbeat! Pain and all! I must say I am blessed to know such great people as the staff at Running Strong, Billy Mills, Gene Krizek, and Team Running Strong.
I will always look back on this experience and be grateful. Thank you for everything. It was an honor!
KATHY HILL 2005, 2006, 2007 Team Running Strong Marine Corps Marathon
Team Running Strong in the Marine Corps Marathon Kathy Hill’s first marathon was on Team Running Strong in 2005, she ran it in four hours flat, a personal best, and has been running strong every year since. Ironically, Kathy dreaded running in high school. “I always walked the track in gym class,” she laughs. Kathy believes that fitness is not only important physically, but mentally as well. She refers to running as her therapy and worked hard to attain a black belt in karate.
“Growing up on the rez with seven sisters and no car, karate is not something we could easily afford. I had to pay for it myself, but it kept me focused, kept me out of trouble.” It is that kind of focus that Kathy wants to instill in American Indian youth today.
“Running is my gift from the Creator. My way of paying this gift back is to use my running to help and inspire others. Team Running Strong helped me fulfill this endeavor.”
MELVIN TALIMAN, JR. 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Team Running Strong Marine Corps Marathon
“Team Running Strong is something I always look forward to. It’s the only Native charity team I know of that goes along with a big race and they support good Indian programs.”
Melvin has been a member of Team Running Strong since its inception in 2004.
Each October, Melvin (Navajo) travels from Mesa, Arizona with his wife, children, father-in-law, sister-in-law, aunts and uncles to participate on Team Running Strong, saying, “I always enjoy meeting my teammates and seeing the Running Strong crew.”
Melvin’s family supports his efforts by participating in Running Strong’s race weekend events, including an honoring ceremony, a fitness expo, and race day charity tent. On Melvin’s fourth year, Running Strong and Billy Mills presented him with a star quilt to thank him for his commitment.