Reaching a turning point

Duo, running in every Just Move It event they can, find themselves


Special to the Times | Ray Landry
Jase Silversmith runs the four-mile Just Move It event on July 7 in Aneth, Utah. Silversmith has participated in 13 Just Move It events.

It was late last year when Mina Gray came to a turning point in her life.

“I had a heart attack December of last year and I was only 45 years old, and I’m a mother of four boys,” Gray said. “They range in age from 12 to 25, and they’re still too young to leave alone.

Special to the Times | Ray Landry
Mina Gray runs the Just Move It event in Aneth, Utah on July 7. Gray ran in her 13th Just Move It event.

“So I made it a personal goal and dragged a co-worker along with me and told him, ‘Hey, you need to de-stress. I told him come run with me and let’s see how many Just Move Its we can hit.”

The co-worker was Jase Silversmith and the two work for Capacity Builders, a local organization that focuses on creating jobs and economic development for Native American communities.
Gray convinced him to tackle the 26th Annual Just Move It with her. The two ran in their 13th Just Move It at Aneth Community School on Monday.

Gray, now 46, said the initiative has been paying off.

“It wasn’t at the beginning where we were going to hit all of them, we just kept on encouraging each other to go on and on,” Gray said. “As of the last check in, I was down 20 pounds. I started off on 14 meds and I’m down to nine, so hopefully more.”

Gray’s determination and motivation inspired Silversmith.

In his own way, Silversmith, 38, had also lost touch with physical activity in his life. Originally from Tohatchi, he was a back-to-back cross-country state champion for Rehoboth Christian School in 1996-97, but stopped running.

“It’s kind of weird because I did a full circle because I lost my running form and I’m coming back to it after so many years,” he said. “It’s really amazing.

“I would do the occasional JMI, with friends or whatever coworkers, but I met Mina and she really motivated me.”

The two have followed the JMI Shiprock Agency team since late May. They’ve hit every single JMI on the schedule, including San Juan Chapter, Sheep Springs, and Immanuel Mission in Sweetwater.
Aside from the health benefits, Gray said hitting every JMI has also been good for the soul.

She said she’s become more aware of her people and the communities. Her favorite JMI location so far was Sheep Springs.

“I thought it was a just gas station out in the middle of nowhere, but when we got there they had this big old health event going on,” she said.

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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.