Last spring, Harold Bennally, a 37-year-old Diné ultrarunner, crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon wearing a pair of high-topped red leather moccasins—likely the first time anyone had run the famous race in traditional Diné footwear. To raise funds to send him to the event, Bennally organized the Canyon X Half Marathon: a race through a remote portion of Antelope Canyon in LeChee, Arizona, far from the tourist-heavy lower section.
The inaugural event, in 2018, was a success, with 98 runners traveling from across the Southwest to participate. Bennally and other organizers, including the Red Earth Running Company, which sponsors Native running events and athletes, brought it back for a second time last fall. On a brisk day in November, 168 runners gathered to run a 13-mile course that climbed 1,800 feet across sandstone canyons and remote washes.