Community run promotes health

Native American organizations aim to spread wellness


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Denis Perez / The Advocate Hundreds of people participated in the annual Running Is My High event to promote the health and wellness of the community in Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland, Calif. on Saturday.

By Denis Perez, Photo Editor

OAKLAND — Healthy living advocates took part in 5- or 10-kilometer runs around Lake Merritt to promote community health and wellness here on Saturday.

The theme for this year’s annual “Running is My High” event focused on moving forward together as a community through being active and using running as a form of meditation.

Mountain View resident Paul Medarang said the event is a spirit run.

“Running is a prayer,” Medarang said.

The event has been going on for over 20 years and advocates turn out for the event every year to promote health awareness among people of all ages.

Medarang said they run to pray  for necessities like clean water, peace and community unity.

He said, “There is a tradition here.”

People who participate in the run are givers, activists, protesters and people who care for their community’s wellness, he said.

They are here to give off good energy and receive some back, Medarang said.

There were 300 registered runners and an estimated 500 people total who engaged in this act of solidarity for community wellness.

San Francisco resident Sherlin Benally said the event reinforces the steps he takes toward moving forward in life.

Benally said when he runs it is a euphoric feeling. He said the natural high he feels while running allows him to envision every step he runs as a prayer for the future.

Benally said that running has been his niche for 20 months while recovering from crystal methamphetamine addiction.

The message of moving forward has always been a key component of the event since its inception.

Volunteer staff person Camacho Tahnee said, “Fighting the high risk of diabetes in indigenous communities is one of the main reasons this event was created and now this event allows for the community to teach its younger generations to be active.”

Tahnee said it is important to teach the youth to move forward through intergenerational events like these.

She said her participation in the run marks 10 years of discovering the joys of running through community involvement.

She said she has always seen how complete families come out to participate.

Sang Mendy, a Hercules resident, said he brought his wife and three kids to participate because he wants to show support for people not only becoming aware of their health, but taking steps to become healthy.

“I work at a hospital,” Mendy said. “So it is a privilege for me to help promote healthy living.”

He said in the present political climate, in which the healthcare system has become a problem, it is necessary to share these types of events with family and friends.

“I shared this stuff on Facebook and told all my friends about it,” he said.

The “Running is My High” event stretched from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lunch was served to participants and prizes were given out to the top three finishers in all the different categories.

There was a bouncy house and face painting for children.

The event also allowed for community outreach and promotion of other resources for the community.

Event organizer Anthony Taulo said community organizations contacted him prior to the event to set up booths for the event.

Taulo said it is important that people know where to go if they need a support group.