Building Healthy Habits for a Healthy Lifetime
OMAK, WA – Empowered Participants Build Endurance, Discipline and Community.
August 2nd, 2014 was not a race but a unique opportunity for the participants of the Colville Indian Reservation’s annual “Take Charge of Your Health” triathlon to overcome barriers and build healthy habits to last a lifetime. Cosmetologist Monique Bourgeau completed all 3 events and was the 1st single finisher. Richard Allen, Larry Allen and Larry Allen were the 1st team relay finishers.
The event, organized by physical activities lifestyle specialist Shelli Martinez and sponsored by the Colville Tribes Diabetes Program and Tribal Health, had three legs – a 500 yard swim in the beautiful Omak Lake followed by a 10 mile bike ride through scenic back roads to downtown Omak City Park and a 3 mile walk/jog/run around a paved track. Martinez and other PATHSTAR alumni Angela Rios, Sally Hutton and Joey Cohen were among 27 others who endured 90 degree weather and finished the race.
“The triathlon,” Martinez told The Tribal Tribune, “serves as a catalyst for inspiring self-reliance and optimism among families and communities. The quality of life depends upon our choices and the way we undertake our obstacles.”
The key to the triathlon’s success was an emphasis on community building with a long-term commitment to nutrition and overall health changes. Type 2 Diabetes is a significant health problem in American Indian communities and compared with other US populations, American Indians and Alaska Natives are disproportionately affected with the disease. The Diabetes program employs Physical Activities Lifestyles Specialists (PALS) who helped to train people and prepare them for the race.
The triathlon was Martinez’ first since joining PATHSTAR’S annual Alcatraz Swim Week in 2011. She has since completed 3 Alcatraz swims, several short distance fun runs and an obstacle course run. She will join a mix of PATHSTAR alumni and new participants for the 12th annual Swim Week from October 5-13. The week’s events include preparing healthy meals, visits to farmer’s markets, meetings with lifestyle coaches and a variety of yoga and Pilates sessions, concluding with the Alcatraz swim on the 13th.
PATHSTAR is a support and advocacy non-profit that is committed to inspiring and revitalizing sustainable health and well-being practices within Native American communities by providing experiential learning opportunities. Swim Week is an intensive week-long educational and experiential San Francisco-based Alcatraz swim program featured in the 2009 documentary “From The Badlands To Alcatraz” by PATHSTAR founder Dr. Nancy Iverson.
Article by Rory Dean, Public Relations & Media PATHSTAR
For more information about PATHSTAR please visit www.pathstar.org