By Shirley Hill
This Fall on October 28th, 2007, Kathy Lewis and Team Running Strong participated in the 31st Annual Marine Corps Marathon which started in Arlington, VA and ended in Washington D.C. Running Strong is about the daily miracles in Indian country. Despite the tremendous odds, our Indian-led programs are making a brighter future for some of the most forgotten and poverty-stricken parts of our country, one water well, one youth center, one family at a time.
Olympic Legend Billy Mills
Billy Mills’ success exemplifies Running Strong. Orphaned at the age of 12, struggling against poverty and prejudice, he became the only American to ever win the 10,000m Olympic Gold Medal. He also served as a Captain in the Marine Corps.
Last year, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of his victory in Tokyo, Mills was named the Marine Corps Marathon’s official starter. With track and field becoming what it is now in America, few who ran the event knew the scope of Mill’s story.
About how a virtual unknown from South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation caught and passed the world’s two greatest distance runners at the time, Australia’s Ron Clarke and Tunisia’s Mohammad Gammoudi, in the final 100 meters. Billy Mills is the only American to win the event.
Mills would go on to run against Kip Keino, the legendary Kenyan. Yet when the French magazine Lâ’Equipe asked Mills years ago who was his toughest competitor, he remarked, “Ted Lewis.
“Who?” he was asked. “What nation is he from?”
“The Mohawk nation.”
Onondaga Lacrosse Legend Ted Lewis
Ted Lewis is the late father of Kathy Hill, who ran in her dad’s memory because Billy Mills asked her to run.
“He always beat me in high school,” Mills said of Lewis. “He had a great stride. I thought it would be nice if his daughter ran.”
Over 22,000 people participated in the annual event. This marks Kathy’s third run. She finished with a time of 4:37:45.00, with two of her sisters, her two grandsons, and several family members watching. That’s 26.2 miles in 4hours, 37 minutes, and 45 seconds. Being the 3,210th woman to cross the finish line, that’s marvelous. It takes a dedicated runner to complete such a feat as that. Way to go Kathy!