TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Wings Program is gearing up for its 2024 race season with 17 5K runs scheduled across the Cherokee Nation Reservation. The races, which are open to Wings program members, kick off on March 23 with the "Run the Streets 5K" in Bartlesville.

The Wings program offers both in-person and virtual options for Cherokee Nation citizens and non-citizens to get active and stay healthy. All 5K race events are free for Wings members.

"The Wings races provide a fun way for our citizens and employees to embrace an active lifestyle focused on fitness and wellness," Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. "These events bring our communities together, while also promoting the benefits of the Wings program and the importance we place on health and healthy habits in the Cherokee Nation."

The 2024 Wings race season will visit communities across the reservation including Tahlequah, Bartlesville, Stilwell, Grove, Sallisaw, Pryor, Jay, Webbers Falls, Westville, Vian, Vinita, Nowata, Muskogee, Claremore and Hulbert. In addition to the 5K runs, all races will also feature a fun run event.

Participants can register for the 2024 Wings races and learn more about the Wings program by visiting https://www.cherokeepublichealth.org/Tiles/Wings. Race details, registration information for individual events and the Wings membership application can all be found there as well. 

"Cherokee Nation Public Health makes it easier for our citizens and employees to prioritize their health by removing barriers to access gym facilities, group fitness classes and wellness activities," Lisa Pivec, Cherokee Nation Public Health Executive Director said. "Participating in the Wings races is a great way to stay motivated and engaged with the program while experiencing our beautiful Cherokee communities."

The Wings 2024 schedule is as follows:

  • March 23 – Run the Streets 5K – Bartlesville
  • April 6 – CC Camp 5K & Fun Run – Stilwell
  • April 13 – Running Wild – Tahlequah
  • April 27 – Second Chance Pet Rescue 5K – Grove
  • May 4 – Diamond Daze 5K – Sallisaw
  • May 11 – Run for the Berries – Stilwell
  • June 1 – HOPE FitBiz Challenge 5K – Pryor
  • July 6 – Huckleberry Run – Jay
  • July 13 – Walter Webbers Falls 5K – Webbers Falls
  • July 20 – Summer Slam 5K – Westville
  • Aug. 17 – Lake Vian Trail Run – Vian
  • Aug. 31 – Cherokee Holiday Run – Tahlequah
  • Oct. 5 – Hornet 5K & Fun Run – Vinita
  • Oct. 12 – Nowata 5K & Fun Run – Nowata
  • Oct. 19 – The Fast and the Furriest 5K – Muskogee
  • Nov. 2 – Will Rogers Memorial 5K – Claremore
  • Dec. 7 – Frigid Forest 5K – Hulbert 

Cherokee Nation is in continual progress to make public health and wellness programs more accessible and available for citizens. The Public Health and Wellness Fund Act of 2021, amended most recently in 2023, dedicates $100 million in settlement funds from opioid and e-cigarette lawsuits for a variety of public health programs, including $76 million for drug treatment capital projects. Specifically, the new PHWFA provides $2.8M over the next eight years for a “Smoking Cessation Fund.”

The Act established by Principal Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner also dedicates 7% of the tribe’s annual third-party health insurance collected to physical and mental wellness programs, generating millions of dollars per year for these efforts.