woman running

ASU alum motivates Native American youth as Nike ambassador

By

Lisa Robbins

The ASU Native American Alumni Chapter will feature professional marathon and long-distance runner Alvina Begay during its annual alumni breakfast April 23 at the ASU Karsten Golf Course. Begay is currently an N7 ambassador for Nike.

The N7 Fund is a grant program developed by Nike to create early positive experiences in sports and physical activity for Native American and Aboriginal youth in North America. The N7 ambassadorship features world-class Native American athletes from across the United States.

“N7 gave me a way to give back through my running. I try to motivate youth and help them find what they’re passionate about,” said Begay, who was selected as an N7 ambassador in 2009.

Begay, who was raised in Ganado, Arizona, on the Navajo reservation, had successful collegiate careers at Adams State College and Arizona State University. Begay ran for ASU’s track and field team and set records while running at ASU. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition.

“I feel pretty honored and excited to come back to ASU. Through college and after college, I set high goals for myself and worked hard. Running has done a lot for me — it’s gotten me through college, I’ve traveled the world and met some great people,” Begay said.

Since her ASU graduation, she has finished in the top 10 in eight U.S. road championships, qualified for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic trials in the marathon, represented the U.S. internationally and finished 10th in the New York City Marathon. She also qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meters.

Begay is now part of Team Run Flagstaff Pro, the organization’s new elite team supporting local developing, national-class, and world-class distance runners, who train in Flagstaff. She recently completed her ­­­­­­­­master’s degree in health administration from Northern Arizona University. 

“Alvina has had a successful running career and serves as a role model to Native American communities in encouraging young students to keep active in order to remain healthy,” said Justin Hongeva, president-elect of the ASU Native American Alumni chapter. “The sport of running is intertwined with many Native American cultures and continues to be the focal point in encouragement for healthier active lifestyles in our native communities." 

The ASU Native American Alumni Chapter works to bring alumni on campus every year during the Native American Culture Week usually held in April. The alumni chapter has been actively involved in many ASU and Native American community events such as the annual ASU Pow-Wow, Josiah N. Moore Scholarship Benefit dinner, and other volunteer events.

The ASU Native American Alumni chapter was established in 1988 to provide opportunities for Native American graduates of Arizona State University to maintain a rewarding and continuing relationship with the ASU Alumni Association and the university. 

For additional information, please contact Justin Hongeva at jhongeva4@gmail.com or visit the ASU Native American Alumni website: https://alumni.asu.edu/chapters/native-american-alumni.