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Louis Tewanima Footrace honoring Hopi Olympian celebrates 50 years

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

This weekend marks a special celebration: the 50th annual Louis Tewanima Footrace, named in honor of the two-time Hopi Olympian.

The long distance runner won a silver medal in the 10,000 meters competition during the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, setting a national record in the process — one untouched for half a century. 

A residential school survivor, the rising Hopi athlete was forced to attend the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania and ran on its cross country team alongside Jim Thorpe, before finding stardom on the international stage. 

On Sunday, up to 300 runners will dash in his memory, competing in 5k and 10k races through Hopi homelands, including the village of Shungopavi where he grew up.

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Gabriel Pietrorazio is a correspondent who reports on tribal natural resources for KJZZ.