In honor of grandpa

Family of Laffie Begay Sr., who died at last year's Narbona Pass Classic, honors him

(Times photo - Donovan Quintero)

Runners begin their race on Sunday morning at the 35th annual Narbona Pass Classic 10k run.

By Terry Bowman
Navajo Times

CRYSTAL, N.M., July 10, 2014

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(Times photos – Terry Bowman)

TOP: T-shirts were made in remembrance of Laffie Begay Sr. for those over the age of 60 who participated in the 2014 Narbona Pass Classic this year.

BOTTOM: Family members displayed photos of the late Laffie Begay Sr. during this year’s Narbona Pass Classic on July 5. Begay, who raced last year, collapsed from a heart attack near the finish line and later died at a Farmington hospital.

A year after collapsing at the 2013 Narbona Pass Classic, the family of Laffie Begay Sr. attended this year's race to honor him and to provide emergency medical support for fellow runners.

"We wanted to come back to have some closure to what happened here," said Debbie Begay, widow of Begay, who explained that living without him has been an emotional tragedy. Her husband would have been 60 years old this year. "It was a real shock when it happened and it was a really hard time in our life."

Begay participated in last year's Narbona Pass Classic and collapsed from a heart attack near the finish line. He later died at the San Juan Medical Center in Farmington.

Winners at Narbona Classic

WINDOW ROCK - The winners of the 2014 Narbona Pass Classic race were:
Following women's 10K champion Alvina Begay, who won her 11th 10K title at the event, was Ganado High School junior Daangoiina Haven was the second female to finish the 10K. Haven was clocked in 48:49, finishing 37th place overall.

Miyamura High School junior Niles Thomas was the overall 5K champion posting an 18:40. Thomas was nearly one minute faster than runner-up Daniel Manuelito, who was clocked in 19:44.

"Physically, I felt good throughout the race and after I finished," Thomas said. "The hills on the course were challenging. My legs kind of got tired from the hills. I recovered running down the hills."
Thomas said he didn't know the field of runners. He said he went out and performed to the best of his ability.

"I think I had an advantage by not knowing the competition," he said. "I wanted to go out and have fun. This was the first time I've run Narbona Pass. So I didn't know what the course was like. Old Sandy and Backbreaker Hill were challenging. I met the challenge and I got going after I ran them. When I finished the race, I felt all right. I didn't expect to win the 5K."
Valene Madalena was the first female to cross the finish line. Madalena turned in a 23:37 for 15th place overall.

The race attracted 558 competitors. The 10K and 5K both had 279 paid entries.

Carl said he was impressed with the field of contestants.

"We had an excellent turnout of racers," Carl said. "There were concerns about having the race. There was a wildfire nearby and that was contained. The wildfire threatened to cancel this year's race. After the wildfire was contained, we got clearance to conduct the race."
Carl added, "The racers came out and competed. The change of time for the races went well. We started earlier than the previous years. There was a concern about the computer chip timing. We had a glitch. Other than that everything went as planned."
In addition to winning men's and women's individual championships, Yazzie and Alvina Begay nailed down 30 to 39 age group division titles.

Alvin Begay III was the male 20 to 29 age group division champion and Martin claimed second place.

Leandrew Martine (38:36.3) claimed fourth place. Adrian Herder (38:36.7) followed in fifth place. Timberlin Henderson (38:43) garnered sixth place. Troy Madalena (39:21) copped seventh place, followed by Joshua Hillis (39:24) in eighth place. Binaahnii Curley (39:29) finished ninth place. Adriano Joe (39:40) rounded out the top 10 in the 10K.

Sincere Antonio was the 10K male 13-and-under age division champion. Timberlin Henderson won the 14-to-19 division championship. Vernon Tsosie won the 40-to-49 category winner. Cozy Brown Jr. was the top finisher in the 50-to-59 division. John Wehrman was the 60-to-69 division champion. Haven was the female 14-to-19 division 10K champion. Nibaur won the 20-to-29 category winner. Christy Dafter finished first in her 40-to-49 division. Nancy Gale-Begay claimed the 50-to-59 category title. Sandy Willie was first in the 60-to-69 division.

Amy Gordon (40th, 49:20) was the third female 10K runner to cross the finish line. Chamique DuBoise (50th, 50:23) followed in fourth place. Shayla Tate (67th, 50:54) garnered fifth place. Collins Denetdale (58th, 51:15) claimed sixth place, followed by Stephanie Nibaur (60th, 51:38) in seventh place. Shimiqua Nez (67th, 52:33) was eighth and Deriann Yazzie (71st, 52:44) copped ninth place. Cecilia Yazzie (75th, 53:27) finished 10th place.

Claiming third place overall in the 5K was Garrison Eddie (20:01). Devin Howe (20:03) garnered fourth place, followed by Terrence Lee (20:44). Jackie Fran (21:29) was sixth place.

Tyrell Henio (22:19) followed in seventh place. Preston Chee (22:38) nailed down eighth place. Trenen Hardy (22:49) finished ninth place. Clayton Yazzie (22:55) rounded out the top 10.

Kodiak Daw was the male 5K champion in the 5K. Demetrius Daw and Jewels Leslie were the male and female 9-to-13 division champions, respectively.

Thomas and Madalena garnered the male and female 14-to-19 category titles, respectively. Garnering the male and female 20-to-29 division were Jackie Fran and Joni Nofchissey, respectively. Robby Holyan won the male and Twyla Johnson copped the female 30-to-39 category titles.

Allen Anderson crossed the finish line first in the male 40-to-49 division and Benita Jay was the first female to finish in the 40-to-49 category. Elvis Bitsilly and Cynthia Chavez were first in the male and female 50-to-59 division. Damon Rosenburg won the male and Marilyn Cheromiah captured the female in the 60-plus divisions.

"My heart goes out to him and the family," said Dustin Martin, who placed third in this year's 10K. "We were in view and were all really scared."

Through the pain of living without their father, the children of Begay came out to this year's Narbona Classic to pay tribute to their father by donating free tribute T-shirts to the 60-and-over runners who participated in the run because their father would have been 60.

The T-shirts are grey with the word "Hozho" across the middle with Begay electrical company surrounded by arrowheads accompanying the name, Laffie Begay Sr.

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