FAIRBANKS, Alaska - It was a glorious day for a run today and a few dozen students and other fairbanksians decided to participate in a run that really stands for something every year.
The 7th annual 'Troth Yeddha Race for the Park" was one that really showcased the spirit and familial ties residents have for this plot of land that had a design for the Indigenous Studies Center since 2014, part of the second phase in UAF's plan for the land. Runners came to the start with a brief rundown of the whole length of the race from race director Pete Pinney, an English professor at UAF, and started the race without a hitch a minute later. The length of the race covers the whole university loop starting at the Troth Yeddha Park, down the hill looking over Fairbanks through the valley and back up around past the Reichardt building, coming to a 5K in total. The race was created 7 years ago to further raise awareness about the park and its mission - to create a cultural center that embraces people of all backgrounds. The first runner that made it through the finish line was Monroe Morris, a student at UAF who only participated in one race before- the 5th annual Troth Yeddha Run. He came in with a time of 20 minutes and 23 seconds. Not long after our first female finisher, Wenshi Fraser completed the race at a time of 24 minutes and 50 seconds, quite impressive as this is her first race she has participated in. I spoke to Pete, Monroe and Wenshi about their experience and what this race means to them.
Pete Penney:"This is an excellent opportunity to bring awareness to what we're trying to do with this space. The entire hill, for generations was used as counsel grounds and a place for sharing, for education and trading and to honor that purpose and to support an indigenous study center some point on this space."
"Along with our drummers this has been a big tradition for us."
Monroe Morris: "I felt that it was an awesome day and a really great run and I felt better than I expected."
"I've been here for about four years and for all that time it's just been a sign for me and I'd like to see it come into fruition and see some real changes and see them break ground and start putting in whatever they need to put in here to start spreading the news about it."
Wenshi Fraser: "I feel great. It was a great race and a beautiful day."
"It means a lot. I'm a UAF student and I've seen this area and what they've planned for it, so it's great to support it and see this come in to place."