Prescott Valley teen runs again for water

Goes from Show Low to Cibecue

Riley runs to bring a basic necessity to the Hopi tribe that he is from, water.

Courtesy photo

Riley runs to bring a basic necessity to the Hopi tribe that he is from, water.

No sooner did Prescott Valley teenager and Hopi Tribal member Riley Ortega come back from South Dakota, having participated in the Sacred Hoop 500-mile run following his 1,400-mile Perseverance for Preservation run from Flagstaff to Cannonball, North Dakota, did he decide to run 42 miles from Show Low to Cibecue on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

This one is called the Water for Life Run, Ortega said, noting that upon coming back from South Dakota, he found out about the reservation’s water shortages.

“The water broke down and everything,” he said with mother Lori Ortega stating that the pumps are running at five percent capacity and the governor declared a state of emergency. “We were trying to do this run and we made a GoFundMe account … we want to receive donations for water so we can bring them water.”

The GoFundMe fundraiser can be found at

The run begins Saturday, July 15, at 7 a.m. near the Northland Pioneer College campus and goes down Highway 60, Lori said. From there, Riley will hit the Junction Road and head to Cibecue, ending at Fire Department 820.

However, the length and route may change due to the Hilltop Fire as it’s close, Lori said. Since it’s close, they may have to cut the route in half and start at the junction, she said.

“That would be 12 miles instead of 42. My concern is for the runners and their welfare,” she said. “The visibility will determine where we start.”

After coming back from the 500-mile run in South Dakota, Riley and his brother didn’t hesitate to do the Water for Life run, Lori said. For that run, a majority of the runners were youths and ran 100 miles a day for five days, she said, outlining the path around the Black Hills from Bear Butte to Pine Ridge to Lusk, Wyoming to Four Corners, Montana to Devil’s Tower Wyoming and then back to bear Butte. Each of those sites has spiritual and cultural connections and the run was mainly to bring awareness of suicide, drug, alcohol and sex abuse and for the youth to get out there and support each other, she said.

With all of these runs that he’s doing, Riley said he learned he should have started doing these a long time ago.

“I started running a while ago and I didn’t realize how much running is important to me and what it could do,” he said. “It can bring people together to raise awareness about certain water problems.”