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
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
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
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.