To support a healthy tomorrow for Native American youth, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® is once again hosting our “Dream Like Billy Virtual 5K & 10K Run/Walk” beginning on June 30– Olympic gold medalist and Running Strong co-founder Billy Mills’ 85th birthday.
It was nearly 59 years ago when Billy made his dreams come true – despite many obstacles and challenges along the way – on that fateful moment at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when he was first to cross the finish line of the 10,000-meter (6.21-mile) race with an Olympic record-setting time of 28:24.4.
The men’s 10,000 meters, the longest of the seven men’s track races at the Tokyo Olympics, included 38 athletes from 23 nations and featured the favorite, Ron Clarke of Australia, holder of the world record in the event with a time of 28:15.6.
Prior to the race, Billy, a virtual unknown who had never finished the long-distance race in under 29 minutes, knew it was his moment, and much to the surprise of many, kept pace with Clarke, surging ahead in the last few meters to take the gold from Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia, who placed second and Clarke, who finished third.
Proceeds from the Dream Like Billy Virtual 5K and 10K Run/Walk will go towards supporting the programs of Running Strong to raise happy, healthy Native American youth, including ensuring students have school supplies, grant funding for teachers who work in majority-Native classrooms, and supporting activities at our new Oyate Ta Kola Ku (Friend of All Nations) Community Center on Pine Ridge.
Already this spring at the center, Native youth have participated in a graduating cap beading class for all graduating seniors, a youth concho belt making class, Lakota “Shawls & Bells” classes where they learned Lakota dance and songs, pow-wow etiquette, basketball and volleyball in the center’s gym, and more.
In addition, through promoting physical activity inside the gym, our partner which operates the community center on the reservation, initiated a free walking challenge which began on April 25 for youth, as young as middle-school age, adults and elders, providing them with pedometers with the goal of encouraging participants to walk at least 100 miles by the Fourth of July.
Your support of $28.24 will be recognized with a racing bib – personally autographed by Billy himself! – a finisher medal for the first 200 participants and, of course, our sincere appreciation for having helped Running Strong to continue our mission of meeting critical and long-term needs of Native American communities on Billy’s home reservation of Pine Ridge and throughout Indian Country.
Participants choose their own distance and using a timer or GPS app, take their run and then update their time online.
For those who are unable to walk themselves, we offer the option to sponsor a runner – Billy’s birthday request is for Running Strong supporters to sponsor a youth runner who will receive the medal – enabling many more to participant and begin their own journey towards a fitter and healthier lifestyle.
Early registration (before the official start day) can start posting their times on start day; late registrants (after start day) allow up to 24 hours to post times.
Please register today for yourself or someone else by going to: