Native Runners, Families Came Together for Billy Mills Honor Run in Albuquerque

On June 13, there was a Billy Mills honor run in Albuquerque, NM.

The morning was overcast and a little chill in the air. This was a perfect morning for hundreds of people to come together and gather as a community to celebrate Billy Mills.

From waiting in the long line of cars entering the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute to the closing event of the Pueblo throw, the power and passion Native runners brought to the honoring event for Billy Mills was strong and ever-present.

The day consisted of a number of running events from a 10K, 3K, 3K walk and 1K kids race.

Runners young and old came out for this event. It was clear throughout the day that people traveled near and far to come and see Billy Mills.

One family of four traveled from Arizona to see Billy. A Navajo father, who has two children active in the running community, spoke about how it is important to meet Billy and let his kids know that Native people can accomplish anything, even winning an Olympic Gold medal.

Another family who attended the event was father and daughter, Dominic and Mia, who ran in the 3K race together. Dominic spoke about how this event was a great way to teach his daughter the importance of staying active. He expressed that Mia is getting older and for him it seems like the right time to teach her how important it is to stay active especially in the Native community.

 This race demonstrated not only the powerful presence of Billy Mills but also the power and strength of Native people and their tie to running.

There were many runners spanning different age groups. Seeing the kids cheering for the elders along the finish line and then to later see the grandparents and elders cheer on the little ones running the 1K race showed the circular pattern of staying active.

What better way to end a great day of running and community than the Pueblo throw. This fun event was the closing for the day.

After all the awards were given out and all the runners had recovered from their run, the entire race community filed out to the green lawn below the entrance of the gymnasium for the interactive and fun closing event.

The Pueblo Throw is an event where different items, including water, are thrown out to the community. Among the items tossed into the crowd were fun items ranging from Twinkies and candy to phone cases and laundry baskets! It was a great closing to bring the community together and to see everyone share and trade their items.

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