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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 17, 2004 - Issue 111


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Olympic Gold Medalist Official Starter of
29th Annual Marine Corps Marathon™

by Running Strong press release

Former Marine Honored near Anniversary of his Triumph

Billy Mills wins 10000 meter race at the Tokyo OlympicsWashington DC –Olympic gold medalist, Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), will join the expected 18,000 participants of the 29th Annual Marine Corps Marathon™ to be held on October 31, 2004 in Washington, DC. Mills has been asked to fire the starting shot for the race and share his inspirational story at the legendary Marine Corps Marathon Pasta Party.

"I have always credited the support of the Corps to my Olympic success," said Billy Mills. "To be invited to play a part in the Marine Corps Marathon™ is a thrill." Mills, best known from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as the sole American to win the 10,000-meter race, is now the national spokesperson of Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, making an integral difference in the lives of Indian children throughout the country. Each year he travels as much as 300 days to deliver his message to Native youth based on character, dignity and pride. This October marks the 40th anniversary of Billy's gold medal run.

To commemorate the occasion, Running Strong has formed Team Running Strong. Runners are invited to join Team Running Strong, allowing them to bypass the marathon lottery with a guaranteed number for the race while raising support and awareness for the native youth who benefit from the national non-profit.

"Billy Mills, Olympian, Marine and great humanitarian embodies the spirit of the Marine Corps Marathon. He is a hero to civilian and military runners the world over," said Rick Nealis, Race Director. "It is a great honor that Billy will join us at the 29th Annual Marine Corps Marathon."

Running Strong for American Indian YouthÒ is a nationally recognized non-profit with the mission of strengthening American Indian communities by creating opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-esteem. Throughout 2004 Running Strong for American Indian YouthÒ will be honoring Mills for the 40th anniversary of his gold medal win.

The Marine Corps Marathon continues a combined tradition of dedication, sportsmanship and patriotism. Since its inception, over 293,000 civilian and military runners from all walks of life have participated, deservingly earning the event its nickname "The People's Marathon." Beginning at the Iwo Jima Monument in Arlington, Virginia, the MCM course is beautifully scenic, guiding runners around the Pentagon, past the Capitol Building, down the National Mall and by the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Runner's World Magazine ranks the Marine Corps Marathon among the 10 Best Beginner Marathons. For credentials, event information and interview opportunities, please contact Christine Moore at (703) 432-1164 or Marc Goldman at (703) 784-2113 the Marine Corps Marathon Public Relations office.

Molly Farrell
Media & Programs Coordinator
Running Strong for American Indian YouthÒ 703.550.2123

Join Billy Mills and Team Running Strong to raise awareness and needed funds for Running Strong programs! Each runner receives a guaranteed space in the US Marine Corps Marathon on October 31, 2004! For details see our website:

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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