Boston Marathon 2016 Race Report

Friday April 15, 2016, I was on the train to Boston to attend a conference on Native American Running presented by Harvard’s Peabody Museum in collaboration with the Boston Athletic Association and other sponsors.  This topic has interested me since reading a book by Peter Nabokov which described how Indians ran to communicate, fight, and hunt, as well as interact with spiritual forces.  I thought the Indians’ experiences might contain clues to human potential which have been forgotten in today’s technology-obsessed world.

I’m glad I went:  the speakers talked about the spiritual and community aspects of running — a welcome contrast to the heavy commercialism of the Boston Marathon Expo.  It was a special treat to meet Arnulfo Quimare, the Ruramari runner of Born to Run fame who beat American ultrarunner Scott Jurek in a 50-mile race — and surprising to learn that he doesn’t “train” like American runners, but rather developed his running prowess from dancing and walking.  He’s happy when running, he stated through a translator, and even happier when he wins.

Out of all the speakers, one comment caught my attention in particular.  Chief Oren Lyons is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, a distinguished professor of Native American studies at the State University of New York, and a tribal leader in the Onondaga Nation.  When asked what advice he gives young Indian athletes, he mentioned a word in the Onondaga dialect, which sounded to me like “jaga.”  It meant, he explained,

Try hard — try harder!

— Chief Oren Lyons

After the conference, I returned to my hotel and prepared to participate in my fourth Boston Marathon.

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Boston Marathon 2016 Race Report