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Racing on the Rez: The Catawba Indian Nations First 5k

May 4, 2016

This past weekend was absolutely jam-packed with activities, keeping me busy and on the road.

Friday night, I headed down to Greenville to see Amy Schumer perform with my friend Megan. We enjoyed sangria at the rooftop bar SIP before heading to the arena for 2 hours of hilarious stories an on-point social commentary: She rightfully made fun of the South’s way of slow speaking and how Southerners love to talk about the weather. (It is unseasonably warm though, right?) After the show, we grabbed sushi at Tsunami, making for a late night.

IMG_1851So when my alarm went off at 4:30 am to begin the drive to Rock Hill, I wasn’t going to be running at my peak.

With all the construction happening on I-85, I made it to the Catawba Indian Reservation right as bib pickup was ending. Matt and Byron were also running behind, and the boys had stayed out late the night before. None of us felt like we were going to do well.

Luckily, the race started a little behind and we all had a chance to catch our breath and mentally prepare. Matt’s been working out a lot, and has been getting a lot faster. I had high hopes that today would be his chance to get an overall win, due to his increased fitness and the small competitor field.IMG_1852

An incredibly cool thing they did at the beginning of the race was a Catawba song/chant, along with a ritual cleansing. All the runners went around a tribe member who had made a blessing to be cleaned of bad spirits. It was pretty cool and very calming.


The race was put on to benefit the Catawba’s Spirit Sprinters program, so there were so many kids participating. I ended up running behind a group of them, and having so much fun talking to them while we ran and encouraging them, while making some adult friends as well! The course went along the roads of the reservation, then along the Catawba River on part of the Carolina Thread Trail. All along the route there were encouraging signs, and at the two mile mark, there were two tribal members playing a drum by the river.

The race ended on a hill, to a lot of cheering volunteers, which made the hill not so bad!IMG_1861

When it came to getting the results though, we were pretty disappointed by the timing company. The results said Matt came in 4th overall, when he came in second (behind first place by 20 seconds). Byron’s time didn’t show up while we were there, and they told him he ran a 40 minute 5k (his average is closer to 30), and I was excited because I was told that I won my age group. I even accepted an award for it.

Later that evening, when we went online to see if Byron’s time had been posted, we saw that they had corrected results. Matt got 2nd overall, and first place for his age group. I ended up in second place with my age group. Disappointing for me, but I mostly feel bad that I have a trophy that rightfully belongs to someone else. But I reached out to the race director to let her know so that I can return the award and it can go to it’s rightful owner.

Overall, I think it was a really good first event for the Reservation. There were a lot of volunteers cheering along the well-marked course, it went off-road to run along a scenic river, and it incorporated parts of the Catawba culture. I wasn’t thrilled with the timing company, but I do look forward to running the race again next year and seeing a larger field of athletes.IMG_1884

I am also so excited to announce the new Tents Trails + Cocktails Newsletter! Sign up for a weekly email containing published posts, behind-the-scenes of Tents Trails + Cocktails, as well as fun goodies like promo codes and cool events coming up! Be sure to subscribe below.



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