New race will take runners to Shiprock pinnacle

Organized by the Toohnii Running Project, the T'ááchil Pinnacle Trek aims to offer a competitive environment for athletes at an iconic Four Corners site

Hannah Grover
Graham Beyale, organizer of the T'ą́ą́chil Pinnacle Trek, talks on Friday about the race's 10K route, which will go around the south wing of the pinnacle.

SHIPROCK — Since December, a local running group has been organizing monthly races to showcase trails around Shiprock.

And this month's race is shaping up to be the group's largest yet.

The T'ą́ą́chil Pinnacle Trek on Sunday will take runners to the south wing of the iconic Shiprock pinnacle. Organized by the Toohnii Running Project, the trek will offer both 5K and 10K routes, as well as a 1.5-mile walk and a children's run.

To date, races have taken place at sites such as the Diné College campus, the Shiprock Youth Complex and the Shiprock Chapter House, said Graham Beyale, who is organizing this weekend's event.

Still, organizers are focused on keeping the cost of the races affordable. The cost of Sunday's trek will range from $1 for the walk and children's run to $5 for the 10K. Each of the monthly races have attracted about 100 runners, but Beyale expects an even larger crowd at the pinnacle trek.

From left, Zachariah Ben, Kyle Jim and Graham Beyale, members of the Toohnii Running Project, talk on Friday about the T'ą́ą́chil Pinnacle Trek at the Shiprock pinnacle.

"The purpose is not to raise money," Beyale said. "The purpose is to provide a competitive sort of environment."

Proceeds from the events go toward organizing future races.

In an effort to empower Shiprock youth, the Toohnii Running Project also asks members of the Northern Diné Youth Committee to coordinate each race.

"You get to really know the person through the running of the course," said Zachariah Ben, a member of the running group who has competed in several of the races.

From left, Kyle Jim, Graham Beyale and Zachariah Ben walk on Friday along the course for the T'ą́ą́chil Pinnacle Trek, which will take place on Sunday.

Each organizer brings his or her own flare to the race. Kyle Jim organized February's race at Diné College. He invited local musicians to perform at the event, which had a Valentine's Day theme.

At this month's trek, Beyale decided each child who participates will receive a free kite. The idea, he said, comes from his own childhood memories when his parents took him and his siblings to the pinnacle to fly kites.

"It was a lot of fun to remember," he said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

From left, Kyle Jim, Zachariah Ben and Graham Beyale, members of the Toohnii Running Project, talk about the upcoming T'ą́ą́chil Pinnacle Trek at the Shiprock pinnacle.

If you go

What: T'ą́ą́chil Pinnacle Trek

When: Registration starts at 2 p.m. Sunday. Race starts at 3 p.m.

Where: Shiprock pinnacle, located off Indian Service Route 13 and U.S. Highway 491

More info: Call 505-608-4178 or search for "T'ááchil Pinnacle Trek " on Facebook.