Nahongvita! That’s what motivated Hosava Kretzmann this winter to run in the cold and record-breaking snowfall. Skipping runs wasn’t an option because Kretzmann was on his way to the Los Angeles Marathon, and he needed to be ready. The early morning, 10-degree runs through snow-covered paths paid off for Kretzmann, an evaluation associate in the Office of the Vice President for Research, as he came in sixth—and was the first American men’s finisher—in the marathon on March 19. Kretzmann talks to The NAU Review about his top 10 finish, his Olympic goals and what he loves most about his job.
What brought you to NAU?
I came to NAU for the master’s in public health program, which focuses on Indigenous health. After being accepted into the program, I applied and received a graduate research assistantship working with the Institute for Native-serving Educators (INE).
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I currently work as an evaluation associate for the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). A big part of my job is collecting qualitative or quantitative data from undergraduate students who are in STEM fields. The best part of my job is interacting with students, whether through interviews, surveys or focus groups. There is a lot to learn from these students, and the best thing I can do is advocate for them.
Tell me about your experiences training for and running the LA Marathon.
This past winter has been the toughest training I have ever done in Flagstaff. Not only do I run and train alone (not by choice), but I am a full-time employee at NAU. I must run before or after work, usually in the dark for most of the winter, and in the cold. There were multiple times I ran in the snow or on ice this winter. There were even more times when I did not want to run outside for those reasons. Thanks to my fiancée, she kept me accountable.
As for running the LA Marathon, the course had many hills that I was not expecting. However, I kept my focus and had to say, “Nahongvita!” a few times, which in Hopi means, “Don’t give up!”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut; I have always been fascinated by stars and space. However, that quickly changed when I ran my first footrace in middle school and wanted to run in the Olympics.
What have you been most proud of recently?
After my race at the LA Marathon, I received very kind and supportive messages. To all those people, thank you, Kwakwha’, Ahéhee’ and I am forever grateful.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
To share a meal with my fiancée, family, clan family and friends.
What are three things on your bucket list?
- Spend the rest of my life with my fiancée
- Travel as much as possible
- Qualify for the 2024 Olympic Trials
What advice do you have for someone else considering a marathon?
There are going to be bad days in training, but getting through those days will make you even stronger than you could imagine. Be bold, stay humble and don’t give up.