Cherokee Nation Wings Fitness offers virtual 5K runs
Participants in a past Cherokee National Holiday Veterans 5K go into their finishing kicks as they near the finish line. Cherokee Nation Public Health in July and August will offer virtual racing for those in the Wings Fitness Program. TRAVIS SNELL/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation Public Health in July and August is set to offer virtual racing for those in the Wings Fitness Program.
As CN services and programs slowly reopen after being limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic, several alterations had to be made for those services and programs to continue helping CN citizens.
Wings offers health education, nutrition and physical activity opportunities such as 5K runs and walks.
While most 5K races were scheduled to begin in March, Public Health officials had to re-evaluate how participants were able to race because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prohibited large group gatherings and advocated social distancing.
“We canceled all of our community events up until June, so that meant any of our programs that we were having,” Public Health Supervisor Hillary Mead said. “When June came and we started opening back up a little bit, we came together as a team and started to work on a plan of what we can do, and how can we involve our community and try to offer some of the same programs that we had before.”
One idea was to have virtual races. Wings participants could run on their own, wherever they were located, and submit their times.
“Our first one will be July 4. Anybody can participate. It runs from July 4 and then it goes until the following Saturday, which is July 11,” Mead said. “So they’ll have a week to run that race. What they’ll do is run the race and then they’ll submit their time. Everything is online. They can submit their time through text message or on the website. Once they do that we will send them a T-shirt for participating in that race.”
Participants can submit race information to www.runsignup.com
“You can run anywhere. You don’t necessarily have to run the course. With each registration, we’ve posted their courses but you do not have to do that, you can run anywhere. But you just have to submit your time,” she said.
As of publication, four races were scheduled for July and August. Mead said they would re-evaluate again if it is safe to schedule community races as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred.
“We’ll go from there to figure out if we’re going to continue virtual races for the rest of our races or if they might be able to meet,” she said. “Again, we’re going to be following CDC guidelines and watching our social distance and making sure we’re not gathering in large groups when it’s not safe.”
Scheduled races include the Huckleberry Run for July 4-11, Happy Hills Run for July 18-25, Lake Vian Trail Run for Aug. 1-8, and Isaiah Sapp Memorial Run for Aug. 15-22.
Public Health is also starting online tobacco cessation classes and online walking groups for interested participants. For information and updates, visit the CN Healthy Nation Facebook page, www.cherokeepublichealth.org
or call 918-453-5000, ext. 7691.