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This ultrarunner’s race video put the event’s future in jeopardy

Jesse Weber, a first-time ultrarunner, posted a race video that triggered controversy among the local Navajo community because of the presence of alcohol.

Jesse Weber
Jesse Weber
Jesse Weber wearing jean shorts while running the Antelope Canyon 50-Mile race. Photo: Screenshot via Jesse Weber.

As Jesse Weber alludes to on his website, he does not consider himself an ultramarathon runner. He doesn’t even consider himself a marathon runner.

Still, rather impulsively, he decided to run the Antelope Canyon 50-Mile (80K) and record the race using a GoPro, taking videos and documenting his progress along the way. The seven-minute video (which has since been censored) contained Weber drinking, running in jean shorts, sporting hiking boots at times, and cracking jokes, all in a light-hearted manner.

The canyon itself is located on Navajo land and the race finishes in nearby Page, Ariz. The Navajo area is a semi-autonomous territory located in the southwest portion of the United States and requires Navajo presence in order to visit tribal sites.

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Weber had a bag drop at the 38.5 mile mark (62K) of the race citing that he was planning for “utter exhaustion” by that point in the race. He had alcohol at the aid station, which was within the confines of Page and not on Navajo land, a point he did not make clear in the initial video. Navajo prohibits alcohol on their lands.


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After he posted a seven-minute recap video, members of the Navajo community began raising concerns regarding Weber’s etiquette and threatened to revoke the event’s permit if the video was not taken down.

His apology can be found in the video below:

Navajo Tribal Parks Managers requested that Weber take down the video, which he did, and replaced the content with an apology. The video has been viewed more than 100,000 times.