The Santa Fe Indian School runner made the decision to compete for Sue Cleveland when he realized it would be his only way to compete this year. Christopher Humetewa should have no regrets as he was a key part of that 5A state championship team during cross country and sits among the top runners in the state this track season. Today we get to know more about him in our New Mexico's Getting To Know Series.
When did you first start competing in track and field, and do you recall any of your childhood competitions?
I started competing in track and field as an 8th grader at NACA in Albuquerque. I recall not being very fast but I loved competing and I loved being able to run because NACA didn't have a middle school team so I ran with the high school program.
Was there a certain moment when you realized you'd be able to compete at such a high level?
I still don't consider myself a high-level athlete honestly, but I think the moment I felt like I was able to compete with the people at the top of our state was my sophomore year at the Rio Rancho Jamboree. That year I ran 16:43 and came in 11th place and beat a lot of athletes that would beat me by 2 or 3 minutes my 8th grade and 9th-grade year.
What are some bumps in the road that you've encountered when it comes to training for different events during the season?
I've never had any major or crazy injuries in my running career (knock on wood) but I'd say the biggest bump I've had was my being reckless with my training at times and not being able to compete at my highest level at the end of the season.
How did COVID impact your training as you prepared for the season?
Covid 19 was a really weird time for me. I trained a lot before the times I thought we'd have a season until it got pushed back again to March. So for like 3 weeks in October I didn't run at all and I barely started getting back into shape in November. Changing programs was weird as well, but I adjusted to Coach Henry and his program very well and I've developed a great bond with the boys at Cleveland now. They're my brothers now.
If you had to pick: Track and Field or Cross Country, and why?
Cross country. Running in circles is boring sometimes and I prefer running on the worst courses ever. I love running on different terrain as that's what I train on year-round. Not to mention I feel like cross is way more hectic and I love that.
How is the college recruiting process going, and what schools are you looking at?
It's been a little confusing and crazy at times but I'm just thankful for all these coaches having an interest in me. Right now I've chosen UNM.
Where are you going to college? If you have already committed, what made you choose them?
I chose UNM not only for the running program having heavy hitters in the past like Josh Kerr and multiple amazing athletes on the women's side but because on the educational side it was the best fit. I want to go into education and their education program is really good not to mention my mother is a product of the UNM school of education. I was also raised a Lobo fan so it's been a dream to compete for them.
Is there another track event you wish you were good at? What is appealing about it?
Pole Vault looks insane. It looks so fun and they get really high up there. Although indoor seems ridiculous especially if the roof isn't super tall.
What are some hobbies and interests you have outside of running?
I'm really into skateboarding, video games, sports, fashion, music, education, social issues, and learning haha.
Who is your role model, and why?
Muhammad Ali. As an athlete, he was an Olympic Gold Medalist and a Heavyweight Champion of the world. Considered the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. But his biggest fights were outside of the ring. He was an advocate for his people. He spoke for those whose voices were marginalized for so long. He did these things at some of the most important periods of American history.
Everyone has a bucket list, so give us some of the things on your list!
I really want to live in New York City for a little bit. I just want to meet new people and I really want to experience living in a crazy big city. I also want to see a Man City game in Manchester, see a Knicks game at the Garden, and a Dodger game at Dodger stadium. I also really want to go to different music festivals like lollapalooza, the governor's ball, and like Tomorrowland. I'd also like to run a World Major marathon like London or Berlin.
What is the best advice you have received?
"You can pray on things, but nothing will happen unless you put hard work in" - My Grandma
What is your favorite pre-race snack, tradition, etc.?
I've had the same tradition for 4 years now. I listen to the same playlist every race day (I've added new songs though), I have to listen to First Day Out by Tee Grizzley, eat 2 gummy bears 10 minutes out, take a shot of honey about 5 minutes before my race, and I always hit a stride out and say a prayer.
If you could do a sport other than XC/Track, what sport would it be, and why?
Basketball or Football. I've always grown up watching football and idolizing athletes like Kobe Bryant, Matt Forte, Khalil Mack, Walter Peyton, Dr J, etc. I've always loved those sports so to play them and be good at them would be so cool haha.