Discover how an Indigenous running team is bringing traditional moccasins and ribbon skirts to the Calgary Marathon – Calgary


“The 60th annual Servus Calgary Marathon saw 13,600 runners conquer the finish line, but this year’s event held a special significance. Indigenous running groups were invited to set up camp at the finish line, uniting members from various First Nations in the spirit of competition and unity.

Teresa Campiou, a 69-year-old member of the Drift Pile Cree Nation near Lesser Slave Lake, shared her journey from running as a part of everyday life to competing in half marathons. Running in her moccasins and a ribbon skirt, Campiou crossed the finish line at the marathon, tapping into her ancestral connections and finding solace in the act of running.

A Place of Healing: The Power of Running

Anita Cardinal, a Nêhiyaw (Cree) member from the Woodland Cree First Nation, founded Indigenous Runners YEG in Edmonton to address the lack of diversity in the running community. Embracing the cultural significance of running, Cardinal emphasized its role in healing, prayer, and ceremony. She stressed the importance of reclaiming ancestral practices through running, connecting with the land and past generations through each step.

Emilea Karhioo-Saadeh, a participant from Indigenous Runners YEG, highlighted the mindfulness and connection to nature that running provides. Instead of being plugged into electronics, trail runners like Karhioo-Saadeh pause to touch trees, leaves, and appreciate the natural beauty around them. Running becomes a time for introspection, reflection, and a deep appreciation for the environment.

The Calgary Marathon not only showcased physical prowess but also served as a platform for cultural exchange, healing, and connection. As runners like Campiou, Cardinal, and Karhioo-Saadeh shared their experiences and perspectives, they reminded us of the transformative power of running beyond fitness. It is a practice that transcends boundaries, fosters unity, and serves as a conduit for healing and self-discovery.”



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