(Rapid City, SD) – The One Spirit organization from Rapid City, South Dakota is looking for your support to sponsor 5 Lakota runners to compete at the New York City Marathon later this year on November 4th. These young men are truly modern day heroes who against all odds will be competing in the most prestigious marathon in the world to raise awareness and funds for the Allen Youth Center and to let other Lakota youth know that they can realize their dreams. The goal is to raise $18,000 for this youth center and all proceeds donated to the runners will be used towards the center.
Below are the profiles of the five runners who will be competing and the link to donate funds for the youth center:
At only eighteen years old, Tee Jay Cottier is the youngest marathon runner competing for ONE Spirit in the NYC Marathon. After graduating high school this past May, he immediately went to work for a company installing sprinkler systems in Rapid City, and currently lives there with family members.
Tee Jay attended the Sherman Indian School in Riverside, CA, which is a boarding school for Native kids from across the country. While there,Tee Jay distinguished himself as a sprinter and also competed in cross-country events. He came back to Pine Ridge his senior year because he wanted to graduate with his lifelong friends. His high school coach, Dale Pine, says he has been working his way up to the longer distances and is now running about 40-50 miles per week.
Nupa White Plume is one of the five Lakota marathon runners to represent ONE Spirit in the NYC Marathon on Nov. 4, 2012. He has been running since he was 8 or 9 years old and enjoys training in spite of the extreme heat wave Pine Ridge is experiencing. 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. He does work out every day though, by doing sit ups, push ups, lunges, etc. to work on his conditioning. Nupa may also be competing in the Lakota Nation 10k run the first of August.
Kelsey Good Lance is one of five Lakota runners who will compete in the NYC ING Marathon this November for ONE Spirit. At only 20 years old, he’s grown up quickly on the reservation but says running gives his life purpose.
Kelsey says the Lakota people have always been runners and he hopes to be a positive role model for young children on the reservation by encouraging them to pursue running instead of gangs or alcohol that are so frequently a problem for Lakota youth. He also runs to honor his family and his People- he even dreams of running and wakes up smiling!
Kelsey is being helped by coaches Dale Pine and Lynelle Long, also from Pine Ridge. When we mentioned to them that Kelsey had WALKED THE 15 MILES TO THE INTERVIEW IN 90* HEAT, they said, “ Yep- that’s Kelsey!” We’re so proud of this young man and we applaud him for courage.
Jeff is one of the five Lakota marathon runners that will represent ONE Spirit in the NYC Marathon on Nov. 4 2012. In fact, he runs for eight different charities and has committed to running a 5k on August 11 and a half marathon on August 25, and is hoping his schedule will allow him to run in the Lakota Nation 10k on August 1st.
With all of the running Jeff does, it’s understandable that he sprained a knee earlier this year. Because of this injury, Jeff took off the month of June to give his knee time to heal. As a result of this injury, he has been concentrating on strength and flexibility training, and with the help of his college coach, Mike Thorsin, has returned to the “heart” of his earlier training. In fact, he has actually changed his running technique to make it easier on his body and hopefully reduce the risk of injury.
In addition to learning new stretches and working on his core strength, he is incorporating the “stay strong, and adapt to your surroundings” teachings from Thorsin. With this philosophy, Jeff can take inclement weather or uneven footing (literally) in stride.
Jeff recently met a man from Kenya and learned a time-honored method of coping with the heat used by Kenyans. Jeff said this man told him that coconut oil is an amazing skin hydrator and greatly reduces the effects of heat on the body. Jeff recently tried this new idea; covered himself in coconut oil and ran eight miles and said that he was not affected by the heat!
Alex Wilson, 24, pictured above with coaches Lynelle Long and Dale Pine, is one of the five Lakota runners from Pine Ridge who will go to New York this fall to run in this world class marathon. Alex is an accomplished runner and placed fifth in the state cross-country when he was (only) in the eight grade, and won the State Championship cross-country event as a senior.
ONE Spirit has six spots in the New York City marathon and is sending five Lakota runners to compete on November 4, 2012. All of the proceeds raised by these young men will be donated to the Allen Youth Center, started by the Lakota people with the help of ONE Spirit.
Through the generous donations of ONE Spirit “family” members, we were able to send the runners to Rapid City, with Dale, to be fitted for running shoes and cool/dry shirts and shorts. Running more than one hundred miles per week, these Lakota marathoners really go through the shoes! We are truly grateful for the hard work and sacrifice these young men are making for their community.
Please show your support for these young men and for Lakota youth.
About One Spirit
The ONE Spirit Mission is to assist the Lakota people in preserving and revitalizing the Lakota culture, language, and self-sufficiency while meeting the basic needs of Lakota families, children, and elders. We strive to cultivate an intercultural relationship that recognizes that we are all related and that American Indians are an equal and valued part of our society. Visit http://nativeprogress.org/ to find out more about this organization