Running Medicine opening circle Running Medicine opening circle

Time to Get Moving

Running Medicine Kicks Off Virtual Fall Program

For a group that prides itself on high-fives and group energy, it is fair to say that Running Medicine (RM) has had some challenges this year.

Precautions to stem the spread of COVID-19, such as maintaining physical distance, have prevented group members from gathering for their usual run/walk events.

“We have had to get creative,” says RM co-leader Ashleigh Claw. “There isn’t an option to stop moving, but we just have to adapt to moving in a way that is safe during COVID – virtual movement together through social media and Zoom, for example.”

Indeed, in the first week of registration for the Fall season, RM Albuquerque had close to 200 people sign up.

RM will launch the Fall season with the “Running Medicine Fall Season Opening Ceremony” via Zoom this Saturday, August 29. It will include five RM sites – three in the Albuquerque area, one at Zuni Pueblo and one at Acoma/Laguna Pueblos. The event is free and open to all community members.

The virtual ceremony will include Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Verna Volker, founder of Native Women Running, UNM football player Teton Saltes and Jordan Hamm of Brooks Sports Inc. “We expect there will be a lot of fun and positive energy,” says RM co-leader Danielle Hopkins.

Despite COVID-related disruptions, RM remains focused on its mission. Earlier this month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded RM its prestigious Sports Award, which recognizes programs that use sports to improve the health of their communities. In 2017, RM received a national “Best New Program” award from AmeriCorps.

“The opening ceremony is a big thing for us,” says Dewayne Carl, RM Youth Program Director. “We expect more than 200 people, including some giveaways and traditional Native culture. We want people to celebrate life and the chance to improve our health this fall.”

RM began in 2016 as a program of the Native Health Initiative, a love-grounded non-profit organization, said founder and director Anthony Fleg, MD, an associate professor in the UNM Department of Family & Community Medicine. RM believes that movement is medicine for mind, body and spirit, and has created a culture of wellness through walking and running.

You are welcome to join Running Medicine this fall, regardless of where you live.

“One of the positives of the pandemic and a virtual world is that it is a time to connect us across our usual geographic barriers,” Claw says. “We welcome anyone who wants to be a part of RM this fall to sign up and join us.”

For registration information and to learn more, visit

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