Allow me to introduce you all to Phillip Michael Tucker. Phillip is one of our newest captains. He is also Captain of our newest chapter in Knoxville, Tennessee.
How new is this chapter? Established back in August 2021. Phillip and the Knoxville brothers hit the ground running and they have not stopped. His face may look familiar to you as he has appeared on an episodes of TV One’s Fatal Attraction/For My Man. As a therapist [LPC-MHSP], Phillip was one of several professionals offering his input on a specific case.
Phillip, how did you get started running and how long have you been running? .
I never thought I would be an avid runner. After my 4th child, my wife had expressed some interest in running. I really got behind my wife and supporting her; that’s what got me started. Once I got in to it, it really took off. As a therapist, I’m always interested in things that keep me focused and balanced and running really helped with that’s. That was late 2018 so I haven’t been doing this very long
How did you hear about Black Men Run and what attracted you to the organization?
I was checking out various active groups and I didn’t see a lot of Black runners where I live. I randomly searched for running groups of color; I ran across BRC [Black Runners Connection] and then I started seeing posts about Black Men Run and I was pumped to see other Black runners period. And I was intrigued and excited to see that there is a group dedicated to Black runners.
As a new captain over a new chapter, what has been your biggest challenge?
Finding our footing during this pandemic, 2021 has been a whirlwind. Knoxville has a record number of shootings, the community has been under tremendous pressure. Trying to keep up with everything and getting Knoxville started has been a challenge. Our group has been consistent. We have a small strong group of guys who keep it going. Their consistency has really given us stability being a new chapter.
Do you have any specific goals for your chapter at this time? And where are you guys running?
I just want to focus on the overall quality of life for my guys. I want this to be a chapter where the guys feel comfortable coming out to our group runs regardless whether we are walking or doing marathons. I see us as a super competitive D3 [college] program. LOL.
We currently run over at Victor Ashe Park. It’s the most centrally located park. Excellent greenway systems. The area is very pro-running and pro-cycling. I like to put people in positions of what they enjoy doing. I want to get impact from the group and we can make decisions on what the group wants. We are running every Saturday at 8am. I would like to add some more runs in the week as the group grows and evolves.
What would you like for runners and potential runners in your city to know about your chapter of Black Men Run?
Our chapter is really a united healthy brotherhood; a space where Black men can feel welcomed and supported. If you’re serious about getting proactive about your health, we want to help you with that. We have a group of brothers that are going to hype you up, support you and help you.
Just come out, get your run in with the fellas. Saturdays at 8am, somebody will be out there. As Black men, we need to really be intentional about things that are actually out here for us.
BMR FAMILY: If you’re in the Knoxville Chapter facebook group, check them out and say hello. The brotherhood continues to grow.
Article by Atlanta Captain, James ‘JT’ Hale.
By Atlanta Captain, J.T. Hale
Mr. Don’t Stop Get It Get It. Mr. Non-Stop. These are just a few of the nicknames that I have coined for Eric Duncan. Keep reading and you will see why. This brother right here, Eric Duncan, Vice-Captain for the Atlanta Chapter of Black Men Run, is the real deal Holyfield. He is a dedicated family man, brother, retired Navy man and run-streaker. This man has overcome numerous obstacles; unhealthy diet and weight, homelessness, and he is still humble, grateful but most importantly, he is still here!
Soooo, Eric, tell us about your fitness journey. How long have you been running?
I was in the Navy when I started running at about 26 years old. I was lifting weights I also played basketball. So I have always been active. I retired from the Navy in 2009 and I ballooned up to 320 pounds. Even though I was physically active, I was eating all the wrong foods, ie, junk food. I decided to do a few races down in my neck of the woods, Hampton and Fayetteville Georgia before I joined Black Men Run. Coming from the gym one evening, I ran into a guy with the BMR shirt on. He had just finished running and we chopped it up. He told me about the Monday night group runs at Grant Park. So I told him that I would come out. Right after BMR’s first anniversary is when I came out and joined in on the Monday night group runs. I’ve been running with them ever since. BMR just really lit a spark in me to DO SOMETHING. I really love the brotherhood, the comradery among Black men and in the Black running community. We all have individual goals even though we are all doing the same thing – we are moving. I’ve also been invited to join several other groups and some I did join but later parted ways. I stick with Black Men Run.
What’s it like for you being co-captain of the Atlanta chapter?
As co-captain, I just try to lead by example. I lead by example with my diet and my runstreak. I believe all the captains lead by example. I cannot just consume any and everything and expect these guys to do something better than that. BMR has been a great support system. I noticed people began to follow me on social media, tracking what I do with my run-streak. As Jason [Russell] always says ‘the world is watching’ and they really are. I am here for the brothers in this chapter. Really, I am just doing my own thing but in doing that I remain consistent.
You’re definitely not a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of guy. What does your diet consist of?
I eat fruit and vegetables. I used to eat meat and then I stopped. I became a vegetarian in 2011. But my diet was still bad, eating chips, cookies, junk food and alcohol. I still lost weight after I became a vegetarian. Once I cut out all that junk food, I saw even more weight come off. Now I am strictly vegan. So yeah, I eat a lot of fruit and sometimes only fruit. But I do eat vegetables too. The result of my vegan diet is that I recover a lot quicker from physical activity and injury. I feel lighter and I seem to have better endurance and energy.
How did you get started with your run streak and what keeps you going?
I recently checked my run app and I am well over 10,000 miles. I started my run streak around the Veteran’s Day holiday a few years ago. I committed to run for 30 days for all my veterans. After the 30th day, I said to myself ‘well, may as well keep going’ and I haven’t stopped yet. 1700+ days later, I am still running every day. Sometimes I do 2 miles, other times I do more. Its whatever I feel when I get out there. I just go. I even received a lot of backlash from posting my progress on social media. “Why are you doing this?’ and “your body is going to break down’ and the first question I ask them is ‘have you done a run streak before?’ and the say ‘no’….then I just walk away from them. LOL. Some people have even inboxed me asking if I am really running every single day. But honestly, I am not doing this for them or anyone else. I am doing this for me. That’s what matters. I may decide to stop tomorrow or next week. Who knows? I take it one day at a time.
Any advice for new runners?
If you’re thinking about it, don’t think about it. Just get out there and do it. Do what you can. Be consistent. Don’t try to keep up with guys who have been doing this for years. Just make sure you start, then stick to a routine. If you stay consistent, you will see improvements. It just takes a little bit of effort and your commitment. Slow down if you need to but keep going.
NOTE: The Atlanta Chapter recently completed a 31-day run streak in observance of our 8-year anniversary. Brother Eric Duncan was the inspiration for this group activity. Today [Aug. 5, 2021] is Day#1733.
London, England, here comes Shannon Booker!
By James Hale, BMR Atlanta, Captain.
Shannon Booker is one of our brothers in the Atlanta Chapter of Black Men Run. He’s a Pennsylvania native, a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, and he is also a Delaware State University and Wilmington University alum.
Shannon, how did you get started running?
I have been a sprinter my whole life. I sprinted in the Penn relays while I was in high school. While living in Fort Lauderdale in 2012 a colleague was sponsoring a race there. I ended up placing in top tier of a 5K race. I realized then that I like doing distance races. And have been doing them ever since. I’ve completed 4 marathons and over 10 half marathons.
What attracted you to Black Men Run?
Within the running community here in Atlanta, I would always see guys with these BMR shirts. So, I googled BMR Atlanta, and I found the Facebook page and the rest is history. I actually messaged the page and you responded with the run schedule. I joined some of the Monday runs at Piedmont Park. Because of my work schedule, I could not commit to every Monday. So, I make them when I can.
What I enjoy most about BMR is the fellowship within the organization, the comradery and the networking and just having a good time, being genuine with each other. It is really a healthy brotherhood in the physical and the mental.
Was it hard going from sprinting to running distance races?
The struggle for me was in the proper training and not following through with those training plans. I had to make myself be more disciplined to stick to the training plans.
What keeps you running, motivated?
It is a great outlet for me. I actually enjoy running. It is great for your physical and mental health. It gives me peace and keeps me centered. While I was moving from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta, running provided me with some peace during the transition. It’s very therapeutic. Most days, I will just get up and go for a run. If I could do anything for the rest of my life, it would be running.
Do you have a favorite location to run in Atlanta?
Atlantic Station and Piedmont Park are my starting points. I like Midtown, Downtown, the West End. Sometimes I plan a route, other times I am just exploring the city, turning here and turning there, until I make my way back to my car.
So, you are running the 2021 London marathon? How can we support you?
I am representing the Kids with Cancer UK Charity. My goal is to raise $2500. Excited to going to a different country and running one of the world major marathons and I am also excited to be able to raise money for kids with cancer. This is my first international race on October 3, 2021. You can check out my Facebook [Shannon Booker] and Instagram page [@Book1914] and click on link in bio to donate whatever you can to the fundraiser, and it will be greatly appreciated.
What advice would you give for new runners?
Run your race, i.e., focus on your running, and find a goal for yourself. You don’t know what other runners’ goals are, so just enjoy it. If you treat it like a job, you will not enjoy it. Do not think about your speed, focus on your run. Find a pace that works for you. I am just enjoying myself. I am not trying to keep up with runners that I know I cannot keep up with. Some days, I may not be in the mood, I just will not run. Have the right shoes. Get some headphones and a playlist that you like and just run. Once you finish, you will be surprised that you have run further than you thought you could. Just go out there and have fun.
Our first blog post of 2021 highlights McKinley Tenny, from the Detroit chapter of Black Men Run.
McKinley’s love for running began while attending and playing basketball during high school, in 2001. His passion for running elevated after deciding to run at his high school’s track. He became enthralled with the thrill of it all.
As a Special Olympics athlete McKinley states, “Running helps me to build and maintain my strength and makes me feel awesome afterward!”
Even though, McKinley Tenny was faced with numerous challenges, at birth. He has never allowed those challenges to be a roadblock.
His first race was the “Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo” 5K at the Detroit Zoo in 2015. In the same calendar year, he competed at the “Detroit Turkey Trot” on Thanksgiving Day. From there his race career took off! Since 2015, McKinley has competed in numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, Half Marathons and in 2018 he completed his first Full Marathon at the “Detroit/Chemical Bank Free Press Marathon!”
McKinley loves to help other Special Olympic athletes by lending support and attending their running and multisport events all while encouraging his friends to push forward and finish the race!
His 2021 goals: To compete in the “Special Olympics” again and his target for long distance running are to participate in the world majors starting with the “Bank of America Chicago Marathon” and then the “TCS New York City Marathon” and see where that takes him.