Ogden woman trains for New York City Marathon in honor of her dad

Nov 9, 2023, 5:02 PM | Updated: 5:13 pm

SYRACUSE — An Ogden runner has been lacing up her shoes for months with her eyes on the New York City Marathon.

“One foot right in front of the other, race after race,” said Mika Shaw.

Every day Shaw heads out for a run, she is honoring the family member who loved running and a community of runners like her. But she is relatively new to long-distance running.

“I did no cross country. I did not run track in high school,” Shaw said.

She has been lacing up her running shoes in honor of her dad, who passed away unexpectedly in July 2021.

“I needed to find something to cope with him passing, and I remember him talking about running, and I’m like, it’s either this or bull riding,” Shaw said.

Running race after race, she said she has taken her dad with her every step of the way.

“Huge daddy’s girl. I always use a hashtag #runlikemel because his name was Melvin Johnson,” Shaw said.

The hashtag, #runlikemel, on Shaw’s shoe. (KSL TV)

Shaw knows her dad would be extra proud of his little girl as she honors their culture, too, keeping her eyes on the finish line with the Native Women Running community.

“It’s a complete honor. It really is. To not only be able to represent Navajo women, but Native American women,” she said.

In the middle of a run, it is easy to wonder whether the “Runner’s high” is real. Crossing the finish line: There is no question.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to be able to say that, ‘Hey, I ran that distance. I ran that mileage. I put in the work. I put in the time, and you know, I did it. I finished.’ And, you know, getting a medal’s cool, too!’” said Shaw.

She gained another medal by crossing the finish line at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5.

Reports show some 50,000 runners ran this race last year. While there were a limited number of spots to run, she said she was only one of eight Native American women out of dozens of applicants chosen to run the NYC Marathon.

This also marked Shaw’s first trip to New York and first time running a marathon.

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Ogden woman trains for New York City Marathon in honor of her dad