CHURCH ROCK, N.M. - Andy Yazzie of Rehoboth, N.M., the 1999 New Mexico State High School Cross Country Champion, ran from the pack to win the half marathon held during the 88th Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. Over 150 runners participated in the 5K run and the half marathon. One runner even came all the way from Washington, D.C.
Yazzie never lost his focus from start to finish, running with the eventual runner-up for the first six miles of the race. He pulled away at the mid-way point but was unable to shake off the determination of Juwan Nuvayokva of Oraibi who kept pace with him.
At the 10-mile point, Yazzie surged ahead for good and didn't look back. He won with a time of one hour 16 minutes and 51 seconds. Nuvayokva finished in second place with a time of 1:18:06, followed by TheoSean White (1:20:47).
"I stayed focused and didn't look back," Yazzie said after the race. "My goal was to run a six minute per mile pace from the opening gun. My pre-run plan was to red-line it and go hard. I am glad with my performance [the win], because I gave it my best effort."
The 2009 Overall Female Champion was Amy Beach with a time of one hour 42 minutes and 17 seconds, Lenoris Tsattie of Zuni, N.M., was the runner up in 1:46:10 and Kirby Gale completed the race with a time of 1:48:21.
The 2009 Overall Male 5K run champion was Angelo Baca from Seattle, Wash., who completed the 3.1 mile course in 17 minutes and 7 seconds. The second and third place wins came down to a photo finish - Eduardo Lash (18:12:26), of Gallup, N.M., edged out Ben Frederickson (18:12:26) for the second place finish.
Kaydee McCray was the 2009 Overall Female 5K champion with a time of 19 minutes and 45 seconds, Farrah Hood (21:27) of Gallup, N.M. finished in second and Kimberly Chapman (22:23) of Zuni, N.M. topped out the top three finishers.