Cherokee Nation’s Wings Program provides free race opportunities
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Feature, Local

Cherokee Nation’s Wings Program provides free race opportunities

Published 2/8/18

Sydney Russell

TNE Writer

The Oklahoma State Department of Health ranked Oklahoma as 45th for overall health in the country. Physical inactivity was reported to be a leading contributor to almost 1 in 10 adult deaths in the U.S. Cherokee Nation’s Wings Fitness Program is a program designed to provide a healthier lifestyle, promote the importance of physical activity and teach health education to the community.

Participating in regular physical activity decreases the risk of obesity, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It also improves the overall quality of life and mental health.

With the Wings Program, Cherokee Nation Healthy Nation will pay the registration fee for 24-28 selected walks or runs throughout the year to members living within Cherokee Nation boundaries of Oklahoma with no age limit.

Matt Lee, Tahlequah pharmacist, said running is a great way to get in or remain in shape and he is thankful for this program that offers everybody in the Cherokee Nation boundaries the opportunity to experience it.

“This program is very well organized,” said Lee. “I get awards and free T-shirts, and I do not have to pay for the races. I do not want to pay to run, so this is a great way to motivate me to get active and run.”

The races scheduled are all local, making it easier for members to participate. The 2018 schedule has two races ready for Tahlequah, making it easily accessible to college students.

Johnathan Cordray, Gore junior, started running to remain in shape after basketball season was over. Since then, he has competed in 15 Wings races and received many awards.

“I fell in love with the competitiveness, and there is a great community of runners filled with nice people of every age,” said Cordray. “Running also helps me relieve my stress. I love just being able to go run with my music and forget about everything else. It’s a good way to escape for awhile.”

The Wings Program is for every level of runner. The races can be walked, jogged or ran. Beginners can also benefit from this program.

“All of the Wings races have short distance fun runs that are not timed, so if a person is just starting out, the fun runs are a great way to start training for a 5K,” said Trina Jackson, Cherokee Nation Community Health Promotion special projects officer. “Wings members don’t have to run either. They can walk or do both in the fun runs and the 5Ks.”

The Wings Program currently has 8,259 members and is still growing.

“Through this program I have gotten to meet so many new people that I have become friends with just because we run in the same races,” said Lee.

Once signed up for the program, to keep the membership active, members must sign up and participate in one race every six months.

The applications for Wings can be filled out and submitted to the Male Seminary Recreation Center in Tahlequah, Health Administration in the Cherokee Nation Complex in Tahlequah or any of the Healthy Nation departments located in the Cherokee Nation Health Centers.

For more information, email Jackson at trinajackson@cherokee.org or call 918-207-3913. To sign up, visit http://cherokeepublichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Wings-Application-2017.pdf.

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