Brandon Dugi‘s relationship with running is different than most runners: as a member of the Diné people in Navajo Nation, running is more than just a simple pastime or fun hobby. Running is an integral part of his culture, so we sat down with Brandon to learn more about his relationship with running, how he started running competitively, and his goals for the future.

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Yá’át’ééh shí éí Brandon Dugi yinishyé
Kin ł ichii’nii nishłį Táchii’nii bashishchiin Tódích’íí’nii dashicheii Kinyaa’áanii dashinalí

Hello! My name is Brandon Dugi, I’m from Lechee, AZ., a small community on the Navajo Nation. Running has always been a part of my life: growing up on the Navajo reservation we were taught to start our morning off with a prayer and run.

I took running to another level 5 years ago when my closest friends in High School that were on the cross country and track teams motivated me to run further and compete. It’s important to have goals and to always move forward in life; some big goals I have written down racing-wise are to run Western States 100 and Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). Also, I want to be the first Navajo to summit Mount Everest, but most importantly, to help and be an example to my community and people, and to show them that anything is possible.

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I’ve been helping coach the high school Cross Country and Track teams here in Page, and it’s incredible to see how much running talent these kids have! I had to step in and help out and support them. To me, I love seeing the kids progress and learn; there’s no better sight than when they are full of confidence and doing what they’re actually capable of. With the goals that I’ve achieved and the ones I’m chasing down, I hope to show the youth that anything is possible with hard work and commitment, but with the caveat to always remember who you are and where you come from, to never lose yourself… even as a indigenous being.

Being a Navajo is everything to me. The things I know, I’ve learned from my parents, and they learned from their parents, and so on. Life teaching is crucial when growing up on the reservation: we are one-of-a-kind. We have a story, we have our own beliefs, our own language and our own culture. We go about things differently from others and that’s what makes us who we are.

When I’m out running, fit and comfort is everything, from shoes to the clothes you wear, and HOKA delivers it all! My go-to shoes on the trail have to be the Speedgoat 4, and on the road it’s the Mach 4. Both shoes are breathable, comfortable and get the job done.

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