Mejnewa running team completes physical challenges

Mejnewa running team completes the “world’s toughest race”

On June 15, several members of the Pokagon Band Mejnewa running team completed the world’s toughest race: Tough Mudder. This year’s Tough Mudder classic ran in Oxford, Mich. and featured 25 challenging obstacles placed throughout a 9-mile course. This is the fourth year in a row the Wellness Center has sent a group to a Tough Mudder race.

This year’s team consisted of several tribal citizens and representatives from five different government departments.

Jenice Cloud, from the government’s Finance team, lauded the event, claiming it was an amazing challenge, a test of your mental and physical limits, and more fun than she thought it would be. She was thrilled to experience the opportunity with her family and is already looking forward to next year.

Jesse Adair, a tribal citizen, was one of several participants who completed the event for the second straight year. He loves the challenges and teamwork necessary to complete the course. He plans to continue running the event as long as it is available and part of the Mejnewa schedule.

Most of the team trained for the Tough Mudder by participating in classes and trainings conducted at the Wellness Center. Santiago Gallegos, a tribal employee, was very grateful for the opportunity to train with teammates and complete the event. He expressed gratitude for the incredible Wellness Center staff who helped prepare all the participants for the obstacles and challenges faced during the Tough Mudder.

Rick Kuiper, a Tribal Police officer, echoed those thoughts while excitedly talking about the mud, running, and mysterious bruising. He had a great time and would love to convince some of his fellow officers to participate next year because he says they have no idea the fun they’re missing.

Mejnewa running team races 150 miles across Michigan

Pokagon Band citizens, staff, and family raced across Michigan this Memorial Day weekend for the Veterans Memorial 150. Wellness Center Coordinator and active service member Dean Orvis completed the entire course as teammates joined him for several mile portions. The route consists of open roads and rail trail that span from Lake Michigan in Ludington to Saginaw Bay in Bay City. The race raises funds for several veterans service organizations.

The run began on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan in Ludington and finished on the shores of Lake Huron in Bay City.  This special event was a Veterans Memorial run to honor our Michigan veterans. All the aide stations featured a different veteran, and honor signs were displayed throughout the course.

Several team members repeatedly mentioned their gratitude for being able to participate in the event, the freedom to complete such an accomplishment, and the ability to walk/run without the difficulties of service-related injuries. Tribal citizen Sarah Eck was very excited to participate in her own backyard, as the Lake-to-Lake trail went directly through her town of Midland. It is difficult for her to participate in most tribal functions, so she was thrilled to be a part of the team. Jason Hunter, spouse of a government employee, has completed numerous runs all over the world, but he said he felt immense pride participating in this event and completing his portion of the course.

The run began at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, and our team finished the entire run at 1:45 a.m. Monday morning. The Mejnewa team has several upcoming events, including our very own Quadrathon, which will be on July 28. For more details on our running club, upcoming events, or participating in next year’s Tough Mudder please contact the Pokagon Band Wellness Coordinator Dean Orvis at or (269) 462-4290.