LeChee family starts 5k to raise money for youth running camp

The event will be held June 30th.

The inaugural Curley Family 5K Fundraiser kicks off its maiden run Saturday June 30 at 6 a.m. at the LeChee Chapter House. The fun-for-the-whole family event has generated the backing and support of the community with high hopes the 5K will become popular among the youth. The proceeds will fund siblings Nariah, Amya, Gavyn, and Kylie’s attendance the Duck Creek Running Camp in Utah. With the generosity of sponsors, Nealsa Curley is hoping to call the race a ‘first annual’ with future plans to send more children to camp.

   The Curley Family will hold on-site registration starting at 6 am.  The 5K (3.1 mile) run/walk will cater to participants of all ages. The entry fee is only $15 and the race is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. The trail is semi-rough terrain that’s not too difficult but includes a sand hill. Before the race a warm-up Zumba class taught by certified instructors Alliyah and Robert Trujillo with Kyra and Marty Nez is from 6:30 to 7:15.

   The top-notch prizes of race entries were donated by: Vacation Races; Ultra Adventures; the Water is Life Run; the Code Talker Run with Navajo Yes; the Monument Valley Run and Lake Powell Cross Fit. The swag prizes and gift cards will be given in a raffle for race participants, which include gift cards from Fiesta restaurant, Dollar Tree, Ranch House and the list grows. These sponsors have all showed an interest in the health of the community and they hope to inspire everyone to get motivated to exercise.

   “I really don’t see any 5K runs anymore especially for the youth. Maybe we can turn this into something with more scholarships or sponsorships for the youth,” said Curley. “As a single parent you want things for your children so they can be motivated and healthy and that means we got to do what we got to do to see them better [themselves].” If the 5K gains an abundance of entries they hope to create more scholarships for the youth to attend the Duck Creek running camp.

   The Duck Creek running camp is a Curley Family tradition that began three years ago. However, when the $100 tuition for the camp became costly for a single mother of four, Curley used her knowledge of ultra marathon running to host the 5K. What the Curley family did not expect was the immense support and encouragement from local, tribal and national organization and businesses.

   The family received a huge response came from the elders of the LeChee community when the 5K event was unanimously approved by the chapter president, the elders of the Navajo Nation and Judge Donald G. Roberts. They gave their approval with the energy and hope that the event will motivate all the youth.

   “I was amazed our elders were really up for it,” said Curley.” They were nodding their heads saying, ‘Good job.’ They see the kids always looking down [at their phones] and kids forget to see what’s happening in front of them.” She added, “Diabetes is really big on the reservation. I read a study that stated our children won’t live as long as our elders. So we are trying to get the kids away from all that [technology] stuff. Hopefully we will.”

Supporters from the area expressed their thanks for resurrecting traditional values of running. “It’s an overall tradition; that beauty and tradition of running when the sun comes up. We say our prayers with the sunrise.”

   Curley attributes her love of running to her father and after she experienced hardships of being a single parent Curley began to run for her peace of mind. Eventually running became a daily habit for her and soon her children’s curiosity of running grew as they grew. They wanted join her when she ran and soon running became a family affair. As a self-taught runner she felt the best thing for her children was to have a professional teach them fundamentals of running. That plan has blossomed into the 5K run out of LeChee.
   “I see a huge impact this running camp has on them,” she said. “I am truly grateful there is such a program that helps them at an early age with the guidance of great coaches. We are excited to see what this event can bring to our community; this will be a great start to building a healthy lifestyle community. With your support this event will be a memorable one. We thank you in advance.”

The Curley family is open to volunteers to help with the two race stations or give water to the runners. Demonstrations of healthy living options will also be a part of the event. Contact Nealsa Curley at 928-640-1472 or email her at [email protected] for more information or to donate.