|The following story was written and reported by Joseph Budd, Native Sun News Correspondent. All content © Native Sun News.
Kelsey Good Lance
Jeff Turning Heart
Nupa White Plume
Lakota runners to compete in New York City Marathon
By Joseph Budd
Native Sun News Correspondent
For athletes who enjoy the ability to run outdoors and for the parents and friends who enjoy watching these athletes perform, there is an upcoming treat that will reach all the way back to Pine Ridge in November.
In New York City, every year a Marathon is held with athletes all over the world participating in the event. The NYC Marathon, open usually to about 40 and 50,000 runners, the course consists of hilly terrain and covers 26.219 miles. The route, originally laid out in 1970, cuts through all five boroughs and has a record time for men at 2 hours, five minutes and five seconds, set last year. The fastest woman to run the course clocked in at two hours, 22 minutes and 31 seconds.
For ONE Spirit, a local organization from South Dakota will be sending five athletes to compete in this year’s marathon. Recently, three of the participants tried their hand at the Badlands half-marathon.
The three runners, Nupa White Plume, Kelsey Good Lance and Alex Pine, captured first, second and third place, averaging about seven minutes per mile…on a course of 13.1 miles.
ONE Spirit works on different tasks in and around Pine Ridge, ranging from wood supplies for families, to food distribution and even helping build a Youth Center for Allen. Among these tasks, there are also the Crazy Horse Ride and the New Warrior Camp, which has seen Bamm Brewer, the program’s Reservation Program Director take a strong interest in helping today’s youth. Brewer also helps out in the food program as a manager, from time to time trying to field down help in transporting goods around the Reservation.
The program, directed by Jeri Baker has seen some successes, such as a safe house built in Manderson and helping to provide support for self-sufficiency, in the ways of a market for hand-made goods, arts and crafts.
However, with five Lakota going to New York City, these athletes will be performing on one of the world’s largest stages in an event that Native Americans are known to excel at -- speed.
One of the taglines that the company has been using has been the idea of taking back Manhattan. With no concept of how the Indians viewed land, the Dutch assumed they had purchased Manhattan for $24 worth of trinkets when, indeed, all they purchased was the right to camp on the land. Now, these runners are aiming to win back New York City. The support for their cause has been inspiring, as over $2,000 has been raised to help with the costs.
Each of the runners, in their own right, has a good story to tell. Kelsey Good Lance lives in the Oglala area, and is currently working towards his GED, but also works to be a role model to other Lakota youth in the area. Drawing on his past, he knows that the Lakota people have always been runners, and hopes to be that positive role model for the young children on the reservation encouraging them to take up running as a positive outlet. He runs to honor his family and his people. The inspiration that drives this young man drove him to walk 15 miles, in 90 degree heat for the interview for the program, and is currently being helped by two local coaches, in Dale Pine and Lynelle Long.
The next runner, Alex Wilson, is already an accomplished runner who participated in the state Cross Country meet in only eighth grade and would place fifth as such a young age. He would go on to capture the state championship as a senior and continues to run wanting to inspire other youth on the reservation to follow their dreams.
Jeff Turning Heart, originally from Eagle Butte, currently lives in North Dakota and has been running since the age of 12. He said, “Running for me started at a young age at around 12 years old. I ran my first race at a powwow in Bear Creek, and was hooked ever since. But after watching an older athletic cousin at a track meet I would tell myself that one day I would be doing that, and I did. I have competed in junior high, high school and college and have continued running throughout my adult life.”
Turning Heart, Jr also learned how to deal with adversity, having dealt with an issue of tumors, and as well running races for charities, like for cancer survivors, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes and other illnesses. He has also run for Big Brothers of America, kids from broken homes and now, with the ONE Spirit organization.
Nupa White Plume has had running in his blood since the age of 8 or 9, and enjoys training, despite the extreme heat that has been occurring more often this summer. Nupa says that on the days he runs it’s best to go out early in the morning, but training for a marathon doesn’t mean running every day. However he does work out every day doing exercises like sit ups, pushups, and lunges in an effort to condition himself for competing.
The latest edition to the team, Amanda Carlow comes from Red Cloud school and has been running for years, including in marathons and would help the team ONE Spirit out, while Dale Pine would be coaching the operation.
Recently, it has been announced that the team will take two different routes to New York for the marathon. One group, made up of two runners will fly to New York City, while a second group will drive the distance.
(Contact Joseph Budd at firstname.lastname@example.org)