Fitness and health expo accompanies running events


FARMINGTON — Runners will gather Friday and Saturday to compete in the annual Shiprock Marathon, a course that starts near the New Mexico and Arizona state line and ends on the south side of Shiprock.

While the name of the event places an emphasis on marathon, it also includes a five-person team marathon relay, a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and kids marathon.

The marathon marks its 35th year this year and continues to grow in its number of participants.

Race director Tom Riggenbach said as of Tuesday, more than 1,500 runners had registered.

He anticipated that number would increase to 2,000 by the time race packets are available for pickup from noon to 7 p.m. Friday at Diné College's south campus.

Riggenbach said in the last six years, the marathon has doubled in participation.

"I think it's a Navajo Nation tradition," he said, adding the race brings together novice and experienced runners.

Online and in-person registration closes at 8 p.m. Friday for the marathon, marathon relay and half-marathon.

The marathon is posting live results this year so runners can review their time seconds after crossing the finish line, Riggenbach said.

There also will be a fitness and health expo from noon to 6 p.m. Friday at the college campus.

During the expo, Running Medicine will have four presentations that focus on running and its relationship to food, mental health and indigenous culture. Running Medicine is a program that was launched in 2016 as part of the University of New Mexico Native Health Initiative. The presentations will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

"I think it'll be a good addition to the program," Riggenbach said.

The kids marathon will start at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by the 5K and 10K runs at 6 p.m.

There are approximately 200 young people participating in the kids marathon, for which the participants have accumulated 25 miles of running over the preceding weeks before they finish the last mile on Friday.

Riggenbach said in addition to kids participating from the local communities, there are several youngsters from Chinle, Shonto, Teec Nos Pos in Arizona and from Bluff and Aneth in Utah who will be taking part.

The marathon and marathon relay start at 7 a.m. Saturday, and the half-marathon starts at 8:15 a.m. Each course runs along Navajo Route 13 and U.S. Highway 491.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at