Navajo Nation to Host Inaugural Run for Hope Trail Race

Article by American Trail Running Association (ATRA) race member Run for Hope. Written by event organizers Brandy and Jeff Tomhave.

Located just two hours from Flagstaff, Arizona, in a remote place of spectacular natural beauty, the inaugural Run for Hope will be held at Coal Mine Canyon in the Navajo Nation on September 28, 2019. This event welcomes trail runners of all ability levels with 3K, 5K and 10K distances.

This race is the first time non-tribal runners have ever been invited to run the rim on this Navajo mesa that is layered with red striped sandstone formations rising up 6,000 feet above sea level.

The Navajo Hopi Health Foundation is hosting this event to raise funds for the first cancer treatment center on any Indian reservation at nearby Tuba City Hospital. Because the federal government does not fund cancer treatment on American Indian reservations, Tuba City Hospital provides treatment through private donations.

In May 2019, Tuba City Hospital launched its Specialty Care Center to provide local outpatient oncology services for Navajo, Hopi and Paiute families. Before the Specialty Care Center opened, local patients had no choice but to drive hundreds of miles off reservation to reach the nearest cancer care facility, some driving 225 miles, the same distance as Washington DC to New York City.

Driving across the Navajo Nation is unlike driving anywhere else in the United States because the reservation’s geography, demographics and infrastructure are more primitive than most anywhere else in the United States.

Every year millions of people visit the Grand Canyon, while just 70 miles away, Coal Mine Canyon is visited mostly by tribal members who know how to keep this sacred landscape secret. It is unlikely that anyone you know has ever visited Coal Mine Canyon, much less run its rim that is 375 feet above the canyon floor. This is a primitive course atop the mesa that will skirt the canyon rim. It is a sandy and rocky route that is not a developed trail. The course will be clearly marked with several aid stations.

The Run for Hope will bring tribal and non-tribal runners together to help bring cancer treatment to the Navajo, Hopi and Paiute people. Representatives from Tuba City Hospital will be present to talk about their new cancer treatment center. After the race, you might even get to enjoy some traditional foods and crafts.

For more race information and registration go to:

To learn more about the Navajo Hopi Health Foundation go to: