Despite a rainy start, about 150 participants braved the elements for the 38th annual Mohawk Miles race on Sunday.
The Kahnawake Youth Center (KYC) event unfolded in the evening, but organizers were well prepared, providing attendees with complimentary glow sticks, luminous bracelets, and vibrant neon shirts to ensure their safety.
“It’s a little bit cooler in October but we’re still having a pretty good turnout,” said KYC community events organizer Cheyanne McComber.
The event is a fall staple for many in the community.
“I think a lot of people look forward to it,” said Summer Lazare, also a community events organizer at KYC. “Fall is coming. It’s the last thing before it gets too cold to do anything outside.”
She emphasized the race’s role in promoting community engagement and physical activity.
Some of the attendees didn’t take part in the race themselves but were there to cheer on friends and family.
Terry Stacey, in attendance to support his seven-year-old granddaughter, Okerahawi Loft, expressed pride in her speed and past victories in school races.
“For her age, she is pretty fast. She has won second and first place a few times, so I came to support her and hope she does well,” said Stacey.
Many people have made the event a yearly tradition with their friends and family.
“It’s nice because it’s a way to get out. I’m looking forward to it because they give you all kinds of glow stuff,” said Lori Taylor Ganley, a participant in the 5-KM walk. She has taken part in the event for a decade with her five sisters, three of whom joined her this year. “It’s heartwarming to see the children participating in the event.”
Another seasoned participant, Lanhotonkwas Goodleaf, secured second place in the 1.6-KM and 5-KM runs. He has a long history with the event, having started at the young age of 10.
A coach for the Onake Paddling Club, Goodleaf rallied his entire team to participate in the race. The exercise fits well with their current training regimen in preparation for an international boat race in Hawaii next September.
“It’s a lot of endurance training,” he said.
After the race, KYC presented awards in the gym to the winners. Kanerahtens Bush finished first in both the 1.6-KM run and the 5-KM run, John-Ross Guarico Lozano was first in the 3-KM run, Zack Powell placed first in the 10-KM run, and Rafael Burgos finished first in the 5-KM walk.
Preparation for the Mohawk Miles race begins months in advance, with organizers tending to details such as illuminated signage and event logos. Promoting the event through local radio station K1037 and community outreach efforts played a vital role in spreading awareness about the event, according to organizers.
Looking ahead, KYC is brimming with activity, including Halloween festivities, ensuring an eventful calendar for the community.