Wings Fitness provides members physical activity opportunities
More than 400 registered runners compete in the Cherokee Nation Wings Fitness 5k called Beat the Heat on June 9 in Salina. Runners ranged in age from 4 years old to 80 years old. Wings Fitness is a way for generations of Native and non-Native families to participate in physical activity. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Beat the Heat 5K runners start a race on E. Campus Road on June 9 across from the AMO Health Center in Salina, and turn onto N. Saltwell Street for the 3.1-mile race. More than 400 runners competed in the evening run. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Since 1996, the Cherokee Nation has aimed to introduce physical activity and social support through its public health evidence-based program called Wings Fitness.
Wings Fitness is a program in which CN citizens can sign up to run 5Ks (3.1-mile runs) for free throughout the tribe’s jurisdiction.
“We wanted to implement an evidence-based program for families, something where everybody gets their physical activity (and) social support for the communities they live in. We offer (it) free throughout the 14-county jurisdiction,” Wings Fitness Supervisor Jeff Tucker said.
Participants can choose between 21 to 27 races a year, directed by CN public health educators who work in the tribe’s clinics.
“We direct every race, our educators. We used to partner. Now we just direct them all, and that opens it up not just to the Native America community only but anybody in that community that’s interested in getting involved. It’s best for us to get the whole community healthy and involved.” Tucker said.
CN Public Health educator and race director Ronnie Neal said planning a race takes months.
“All of our courses are USTAF certified, which means we are certified through the Unites States Track and Field association. It’s a big event that starts many months out planning it. All of our courses are certified 5K, so if somebody set a record that would stand in the record books. That’s something that we’re pretty proud of,” Neal said.
Neal said races also include sponsorships, law enforcement for safety, keeping runners hydrated with water and fruit and designing T-shirts.
Racing times are kept via runners wearing bibs with microchips. Theirs time are recorded once they cross the starting line to when they cross the finish line.
Tucker said when the program started its target was CN citizens. Now it targets whole communities whether the residents are Cherokee or not.
“So we want to bring everybody in. Now that we direct the races, overall public health is what we’re interested in, obviously targeting Native Americans and the Cherokee Nation, but the whole community,” he said.
For those wanting to start or have never done a 5K, Tucker said there is a walking and running 101 program available in several communities taught by public health educators. The program is 12 weeks and participants can choose races as their goals and introductions into Wings Fitness.
Wings Fitness member and CN citizen Carmen Welch said she began running 16 years ago to lose weight. She said since she started her endurance has increased and she lost weight. “I noticed when I don’t run then my weight will go up.”
She said she loves to see other runners at races and the social support the runs provide.
“I love seeing everyone at the races whether I know them or not. I’m always encouraging them and keeping them involved. And I just love seeing them. That’s the only thing I look forward to,” Welch said. “You may feel like you’re the slowest one and could be the last one to finish, but you’ll just keep getting better every time.”
Tucker said Wings Fitness would continue to push physical activity and family participation.
“If we can get a family to do something all together there’s a better success rate with them all being healthy and wanting to make healthy choices. So that’s the biggest deal for us,” he said.
For more information, visit http://cherokeepublichealth.org/wings
, the Male Seminary Recreation Center in Tahlequah, or by contacting a public health educator at one of the CN clinics.
ᏓᎵᏆ – 1996 ᏥᎨᏒ ᏂᏗᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏓ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᏄᏩᏁᎸ ᎤᎵᏐᏍᏔᏅᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎵᏖᎸᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏟᏂᎬᏁᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎤᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎾᎾᎢ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏗᎳᏏᏙᏗ-ᏓᎳᏏᏔᏅᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏂᎪᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏯᏛᎢ ᏧᏙᏍᏓ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏂᎪᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏯᏛᎢ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩᏱ ᎠᏁᎯ ᏰᎵᏊ ᏚᎾᏙᎥ ᏱᏓᏃᏪᎸᎦ ᎤᎾᏓᎾᏫᏍᏙᏗ 5Ks (3.1-ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᏙᎩᏯᏓ) ᎠᏎᏊᎢ ᏂᎬᎾᏛᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎠᏟᎶᎥᎢ ᎤᏂᎲᎢ.
“ᎣᎦᏚᎸᎲ ᎣᎩᏌᏙᏍᏗ ᏗᎳᏏᏙᏗ-ᏓᎳᏏᏔᏅᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾᎢ ᎾᏂᎥᏊ ᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᎵᏖᎸᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᏂᎬᏁᏗᎢ (ᎠᎴ) ᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎤᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᏚᏍᏒ ᏓᏂᏁᎸᎢ. ᎣᏣᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎪᎢ (ᎾᏍᎩ) ᎠᏎᏊᎢ ᏂᎬᎾᏛᏉ ᎾᏍᎩ 14-ᎤᏍᏗ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏟᎶᎥᎢ ᎤᏂᎲᎢ,” ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏂᎪᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏯᏛᎢ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏌᏕᎩ Jeff Tucker ᏄᏪᏒᎩ.
ᎠᏁᎳᏗᏙᎯ 21 ᏱᎦᎢ ᏱᏓᎾᏑᏯᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ 27 ᏓᏜᏅᏓᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᏑᏕᏗᏴᏓ ᎨᏒᎩ ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏓ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏄᎪᏔᏂᏙᎯ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏗᎨᏥᎪᎵᏰᏗᎢ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ.
“ᏂᎦᎥ ᏙᎩᏯᏓ ᏙᏧᎪᏔᏂᏙᎰᎢ, ᎾᏃ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ. ᏧᏩᎫᏔᏅ ᎣᏣᎵᎪᎲᏍᎬᎩ. ᎾᏊᏃ ᏂᎦᏓᏉ ᎣᎬᏒ ᏙᏧᎪᏔᏂᏙᎰᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᎾᏃ ᎠᎵᏍᏚᎢᏍᎪᎢ Ꮭ ᏅᏁᎯᏯᏉ ᏚᏂᏚᏍᏒ ᎤᏩᏌ ᏱᎨᏐᎢ ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂᏃᏅ ᏂᎦᎥᏉ ᎩᎶ ᎤᏪᎵᏗᏓᏍᏗ ᏳᏚᎵ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᏚᏍᏒᎢ. ᏓᏤᏢ ᏃᎦᎵᏍᏓᏁᎰ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏓᏊ ᏚᏂᏚᏍᏒ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᎵᏗᏓᏍᏗᎢ.” Tucker ᏄᏪᏒᎩ.
ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏙᎩᏯᏓ ᏗᎫᎪᏗᏍᎩ Ronnie Neal ᏄᏪᏒᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏏᏅᏓ ᎠᏟᏱᎵᏙᎣ ᏙᎩᏯᏓ ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏙᏗᎢ.
“ᏂᎦᎥ ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗ ᏂᏙᎬᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ USTAF ᎤᏃᎯᏳᏔᏅᎯ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾᏃ ᎦᏛᎢ ᏩᏥᏂ ᎤᎾᏓᏚᏕᏫᏛ ᎤᏃᎯᏳᏔᏅᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏁᏦᏗᎢ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᏒᎢ. ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏏᏅᏓ ᎤᏓᎷᎸ ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎪ ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗᏍᏗᎬᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬᎢ. ᏂᎦᎥ 5K ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗ ᏂᏙᎬᏅ ᏗᎪᎯᏳᏔᏅᎯ, ᎩᎶᎢ ᎦᏣᏄᎵ ᎠᏎᏢ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᏱᏄᏩᏁᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎬᏱ ᏫᎦᏙᎨᏍᏗ ᎾᏃ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏧᏔᏃᎯ ᎪᏪᎴᏍᏗ ᏚᏙᎥᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏳᏍᏗ ᏙᏳ ᎤᎦᏢᏉᏙᎢ,” Neal ᏄᏪᏒᎩ.
Neal ᏄᏪᏒᎩ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏓ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᎾᏠᏯᏍᏓ ᎠᎾᏓᏍᏕᎸᎯᏙᎯ, ᏗᎾᏓᏂᏱᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎾᏰᎯᏍᏛᎾ ᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ, ᎠᎾᏓᎾᏫᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎹ ᏧᏁᎩᏯᎫᎵ ᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏓᏛᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏤᎸ ᏗᎪᏢᏗ ᎭᏫᏂ-ᎠᎿᏬᏍᏗ.
ᏓᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎤᎶᏒ ᎠᏎᎯᎯ ᏂᏚᏅᏃᎢ ᎠᎾᏓᎾᏫᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᏈᏗ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎠᏎᎯᎯ ᏂᏚᏅᏃᎢ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏬᏍᏗᎬ ᏧᏆᏳᎩ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎬ ᎠᏍᏓᏅᏅ ᏓᏂᎾᏗᏫᏍᎬ ᎾᎯᏊ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᏕᎨᎪᏪᎵᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏍᏓᏅᏅ ᏱᏚᏂᎾᏗᏫᏍᏏ.
Tucker ᏄᏪᏒᎩ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᏳ ᏧᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏁᎯ ᏚᎾᎵᏐᏍᏔᏅᎩ. ᎪᎯᏍᎩᏂ ᏂᎦᏗᏳ ᎤᏂᏚᏍᏒ ᏚᎾᎵᏐᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏂᏁᎵ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ.
“ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎣᎦᏚᎵ ᎾᏂᎥᏊ ᏴᏫ ᏧᎾᏘᏃᎯᏍᏗᎢ. ᎾᏉᏃ ᏙᏧᎪᏔᏂᏙᎰ ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏓ, ᏂᎦᎥᏉᏃ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᎦᏚᎵᏍᎪᎢ, ᏅᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᎿᏊ ᏄᏍᏓ ᏓᎾᎵᏐᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎦᏗᏳ ᏚᏂᏚᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏍᎦᏯ ᏄᏪᏒᎩ.
ᎾᏍᎩᎾᏃ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎸᎯᏳ ᏳᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ 5K, Tucker ᏄᏪᏒᎩ ᎾᏍᏊᏃ ᎠᎾᏨᏏᏰᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏓᎾᏫᏍᏗᏍᎩ 101 ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿᎢ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᏚᎡᎢ ᏗᏛᏅᎢᏍᏔᏅᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ 12 ᎢᏳᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎨᏐᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᏂᏓᏅᏁᎲ ᎾᎾᎢ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏂᎪᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏯᏛᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏁᎳᏗᏙᎯ ᏱᏓᎾᏑᏰᎩ ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏓ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎾᎵᏐᏍᏙᏗᎢ. ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏂᎪᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏯᏛᎢ ᎩᎳᏗᏙᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎨᎵ Carmen Welch ᏄᏪᏒᎩ 16 ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎤᎴᏅᎮ ᎠᏓᎾᏫᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏓᎨᏒ ᎤᏲᎱᏎᏗᎢ. ᎠᎨᏯ ᏄᏪᏒᎩ ᎾᏳ ᏧᎴᏅᎮᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏟᏂᎪᏍᎬ ᎤᏁᏉᏨᎸᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏓᎨᏒ ᎤᏲᎱᏎᎸᎩ.
“ᎾᏩᏓᎾᏫᏍᏔᏅᎾ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏳᎢ ᎠᏩᏕᎳᎰᏒᎩ ᎾᏩᏓᎨᏒ ᎠᎵᏌᎳᏗᏍᎬᎢ.”
ᎠᎨᏯ ᏄᏪᏒᎩ ᎤᎸᏉᏗ ᏓᎪᏩᏘᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᎾᏓᎾᏫᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎾᎾᎢ ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎠᎾᏓᎾᏫᏍᏗᏍᎩ. “ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏗ ᎦᏥᎪᏘᏍᎬ ᎾᏂᎥᏉ ᎢᏳᏃ ᎦᏥᏲᎵᎦ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏥᏲᎵᎦ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎾᎢ ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏓ. ᏂᎪᎯᎸᎢ ᎦᏥᏅᏫᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎤᎾᏠᏯᏍᏙᏗᎢ. ᎠᎴ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏙ ᎦᏥᎪᏘᏍᎬᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏫᎦᎢ ᏥᎦᏖᏃᎰᎢ,” Welch ᏄᏪᏒᎩ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏰᎵᏉ ᏩᏍᏆᏃᎵᏴ ᎮᎵᏍᎪᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎣᏂ ᏘᏍᏆᏗᏏᏒᎢ ᎮᎵᏍᎪᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏩᏛᏊ ᏓᏤᏢ ᎿᏛᏁᎮᏍᏗ ᏂᎪᎯᎸᎢ.”
Tucker ᏄᏪᏒᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏂᎪᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏯᏛᎢ ᏂᎬᏩᏍᏗᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏌᏙᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᎵᏖᎸᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏟᏂᎬᏁᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᏁᎳᏗᏓᏍᏗᎢ. “ᏂᎦᏓ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏳᎾᎵᎪᎿ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᏱ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏤᏢ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏳᎾᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏓᏤᏢ ᎤᎾᏑᏰᏍᏗᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾᏃ ᏬᏓᎪᎾᏛ ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏗ ᎤᎵᎶᎯ ᏃᎬᏃᎢ,” ᎠᏍᎦᏯ ᏄᏪᏒᎩ.
ᎾᏍᎩᎾᏃ ᎤᏟ ᎢᎦᎢ ᎠᏓᏃᎯᏎᎯ, ᏩᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗ http://cherokeepublichealth.org/wings, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯᎭ ᎤᏔᏅ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᏱ ᎤᎾᏟᏂᎬᏁᏗ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᏟᏃᎮᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏌᏊ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎨᏥᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᏕᎪᏢᏒᎢ.
– TRANSLATED BY JOHN ROSS