Doing it for her

Tohatchi native crosses finish lines for sister who cannot walk without crutches


JoAnn Barton-Lambert, a Diné living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, holds the Navajo Nation flag in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. after competing in a half-marathon race.

Whenever JoAnn Barton-Lambert starts a race she thinks of the finish line.

Not because she wants to add to the piles of medals she proudly keeps, but because it reminds her of why she runs in the first place.

“I have a sister who grew up with poliomyelitis … she can’t walk two feet without her crutches,” she said. “I feel like every time I cross that finish line it’s for her.

“She’s just such a wonderful person and sometimes I feel bad I’m able to do this and she can’t,” she added. “It’s gift that God gave me. I just keep going and keep doing it for her.”

Barton-Lambert, 49, crossed the finish line in her latest race on March 10, the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon. She finished in a time of 2:15.49.

She said it wasn’t her best time as she fought through issues with her hamstring, but she was proud she finished the race as it was on her bucket list.

She ran in four Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll races, all half-marathons, but always wanted to run in the Washington, D.C., race.

After running in the 2017 Pikes Peak Ascent race last August, she decided to keep things rolling.

“I was so excited, I love D.C., I love the Smithsonian, I love everything,” she said. “That’s part of why this was on my bucket list, because I love the area and I wanted to be able to run a race there.”

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Categories: Track & Field

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.