Origins of the Paatuwaqatsi Run

In an effort to bring back community involvement, known by the Hopi word naa’ya, Bucky Preston, founder of the Paatuwaqatsi Run, along with many volunteers organized the first Paatuwaqasti Run in 2003. Since then, the Run has grown and now has over 200 participants entering the different races.

Bucky Preston stated: “This was something that I had always wanted to do for many years. We are forgetting our Hopi values. We are forgetting to help each other’s out. I want to see that effort return to our community. Putting Hopi life values and teaching at the forefront is the purpose of the run. Why are we taught to run early in the morning? Because running not only strengthens you physically, it strengthens you spiritually. A runner would take one of the many foot trails from the village in the early morning to a spring, take a drink from the spring and sprinkle himself with the cold water. This gave that person strength and provided healing for any ailments. Everything at Hopi involves water - Water is Life. Now, water is being abused and is depleting. In some places, it is gone and I want to bring awareness to the people.”

The run also helps to keep these trails ‘alive’. These trails are viewed as the veins of the village. By utilizing them the villagers keep them open, which helps to keep the village alive and brings the clouds.

The Paatuwaqatsi Run, since its inception, is based on these cultural values to remind the Hopi community of these teachings. The run also invites other cultures to learn from this and share their values about life enrichment and the role that water and running plays in their lives.

The Paatuwaqatsi Run’s main event is an Ultra Run which is a minimum of 30 miles. The course follows the old foot trails of the First Mesa Villages, including Walpi and visits seven natural springs. The Ultra Run is designed for conditioned runners who are used to covering distances of 20 miles or more. The course covers various types of high desert terrain from open sand to hard rock surfaces atop high mesas to riparian habitat around the base of the mesas.

In summary, the length of the Paatuwaqatsi Run is approximately 30 miles. The climbing/descent elevation of the Paatuwaqatsi Run is 4,825 feet at about 8 miles each, the rest relatively flat.

The Paatuwaqatsi 10 miler follows the same course as the 50K. A four-mile run/walk near the race site is also available.

This one-day event includes speakers who share their knowledge and work with water issues within their own communities. And whether you run or not, everyone is invited eat a traditional Hopi meal and become a part of the community who is concerned, better informed and reminded about the importance of water in our lives. All the work is done on a volunteer basis with no individuals compensated for their time.