I’ve been involved in several ways with Native American communities in my area over the years. Firstly, I was Athletic Director, Teacher, Coach at Noli Indian School and Director of Soboba Parks and Recreation in San Jacinto, California on the Soboba Indian Reservation. I coached cross country for the middle and high school aged students, many of whom were coming from tough living situations and backgrounds. As a cross country coach, I would take the kids running on trails. The trails were great for training and the kids loved it. My motto as a coach was to never give up and finish strong. You can run the same hill every day and it doesn’t get easier. If you’re doing it right you’re getting faster. That’s the goal of training.
I also helped start the Soboba Trail Race, which included distances of 10, 25 and 50 kilometers. Race proceeds went to the Soboba Preschool, a preschool for Native American youth. Recently, I also introduced ultrarunner and event director Keira Henninger to Cahuilla Tribal Members. She has staged races on their sacred land.