Disclaimer: I received an entry to the National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!
I chose 10 miles for my run distance for the National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run because Native women in some areas face murder rates of more than 10 times the national average. “MMIW” stands for “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.”
On May 8, the day I did my run, this was posted by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA Facebook page, along with a press release post from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Montana about human remains being found: “Sad news tonight We are 2% of the population and this is the third women who was found this week.”
During the National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run, put on by Native Women Running, participants could do any activity from May 5-8 (the dates were actually extended, but registration is closed) to support this cause. Proceeds benefited MMIW USA, and as of May 4, more than $30,000 had been raised for the organization, and that was before registration proceeds were counted.
“The founder of MMIW USA mentioned how this money will help rescue our native women/relatives,” Native Women Running Founder Verna Volker shared on the @native_women_running Instagram. “This donation will go back to the families who are still trying to find their loved ones or those who are grieving.”
Like I shared in my last post, here’s the event information straight from the website:
The MMIW Virtual event is a race at your own pace and place. You can run, walk, bike, hike; basically, any movement, anywhere. The mission is to be in solidarity with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirits, grieving families, and individuals working on the frontlines to end this epidemic of violence against Indigenous people.
I wanted to do something a little different for this event, so I decided to run every street in the town limits of Vienna, Md. Because Vienna is a small town, I’d had the idea of running every street for a while. I’d already run part of Elliott Island Road that’s part of the Vienna town limits, but since I had decided to run 10 miles, I decided to re-run that part so I could say I ran the entire town in one day.
I wore my orange BibRave tank, but I wanted to get red in my outfit somehow, so I wore red sunglasses. Participants received a red T-shirt.
While I ran, I listened to “Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country” by Sierra Crane Murdoch. I learned of this book from an episode of “This American Life.”
I felt like I’d been running fast a lot recently, with the DICK’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon relay leg and the Run For The Animals Half Marathon last weekend and my fast 1600 a couple days later, along with a fast two-miler Friday. So, I didn’t really want to all-out race this event, and I figured since any distance was acceptable, it didn’t need to be a race — I just needed to run for the cause.
I did want to run faster than a “normal” run. So, I decided to aim for a pace that would keep me under two hours — a sub-12:00 pace for 10 miles.
I squeaked in just under my goal, with a time of 1:59:44. Because I’ve been having issues with coughing on my runs because of allergies, I decided to do four-minute run/one-minute walk intervals. These were not always perfect, as I didn’t have an interval timer on, but it did keep the run moving fast because I always had a walk break to look forward to.
Between running for a cause, listening to the book, doing the intervals and exploring new roads, the 10 miles seemed to go by pretty quickly, even though I was running alone. I did stop and take a few photos, but I’d slipped off sub-12:00 pace and ran the last three miles in 11:35, 11:38 and 10:43, shortening my walk intervals during Miles 8 and 9 and just running for the last mile.
I also made it to a couple spots recognizing Native people in Vienna during my run. I knew there was a mural in Vienna that featured Native Americans (you can read more about it here). On my drive in to Vienna, I also noticed a historic marker for Unnacokossimmon, emperor to the Nanticoke Indians. More about the history of Vienna can be found here.
After finishing my run, I headed to the waterfront and got a couple photos and videos. I sent a couple videos to a fellow BibRave Pro, Jaimelee, who combined a bunch of our videos for an Instagram reel (you can see it at @seventhtrailsister).
Although this event has ended, I would still recommend following Native Women Running’s social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). You can also donate to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA anytime here. I did get a free entry to the event, but I did make a donation to the cause.