By GERRI GRADY
August has been a very busy month for the Cherokee Runners. In addition to regular group runs, many members have been training for half marathons, the Marine Corps Marathon and other events.
The Maggie Valley Moonlight 5K was a team run and took place on Saturday, Aug. 25 with the following members of the Cherokee Runners participating: Stephan Swimmer, Jimmy Oocumma, Sean Grady, Joe Smith, Brian Driver, Dawna Paul, Heather Driver, Robin Swimmer, and Samantha Ferguson. Joe Smith, Heather Driver and Robin Swimmer all placed in their age groups.
Kyline Oocumma, 10, ran the fun run and was the first girl to finish the run – great job! The Cherokee Runners were very pleased to have Mollie Littlejohn and Mary Jane Ferguson in the crowd to cheer the runners to the finish.
Also on Saturday, Lamont Squirrell and daughter, Priscilla, competed in the Return to NFL 5K in Nashville, Tenn., cheered on by mom, Angel. They had a great time and finished in the Titan’s Stadium where all runners were shown on the stadium jumbotron as they crossed the finish line. There were 1,000 runners and Priscilla came in 4th in her age group! In addition to having a great run, Lamont received tickets for a future NFL game.
In addition to running, the group had an informational table at the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians employee health fair at the Fairgrounds last week. The group will have a yardsale at BIA on Saturday, Sept. 8 to raise money for the upcoming trip to Washington.
Coming up in September will be a 17-mile training/group run starting at Heintooga, the Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon and the Harvest Half Marathon in Cherokee. In addition, group runs are held each Tuesday and Thursday beginning at the entranceway sign to the GSMNP (the Flame). These runs (or walks) depend on the ability of the runner and may be as short as a mile or as long as five to eight miles. Anyone is welcome to run or walk with the group. The next regular meeting will be on Friday, Aug. 31 at 6:30pm at the Age Link conference room.