Congratulation to the Saucony + Black Men Run | Runner Of The Month for September, Mr. James Tyus from BMR NYC. Thank you to James and his story in his own words is below:
I never planned to be a runner, but my journey started six years ago when I went to my regular doctor’s visit and was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It took me awhile to process that, but he’s the professional, so I took it in stride. The doctor then asked if I incorporated any cardio in my everyday workout routine, which I replied “no” because of a knee injury that required surgery some years back. He suggested maybe running a few miles twice a week which would help and in my mind I thought he was crazy, but I took his advice anyway. I went out and started running one block at a time, then it became one mile at a time and now it is a part of my everyday routine.
Thanks to my doctor’s advice, I’ve been able to manage and lower my blood pressure. If it weren’t for running, I would have never met the men of “Black Men Run (BMR).” A friend of mine started taking notice of my running and suggested I check out the BMR website. I was hesitant, at first, because I was satisfied with running on my own. I then reached out Captain Kovon Flowers, and he informed me that they met up on Sundays for runs. So I decided to come and the brothers welcomed me with open arms. To me BMR is more than just a run group, it’s a Brotherhood. Being around a bunch of brothers who have the same goals as you is a beautiful thing. You’re just not learning how to run, you’ll also be inspired to win in life. This group of brothers consist of great fathers, sons, brothers, and uncles with a broad range of different professional experiences. Our networking and our bond is something that I will always treasure. I’ve made wonderful connections with the brothers of BMR from all around the country. We all lift and inspire each other and if that’s not what you call being my Brother’s Keeper, I don’t know what is.
I’m grateful for being chosen and as my Captain would say, Love is Love.
Thanks again from your brother. . . .Nighthawk.
As Black Men Run member, Robert High, prepares for his upcoming race in the Polar Arctic Circle he unboxes the gear that Saucony provided to make his race and journey a success. #blackmenrun #saucony
Congratulation to the Saucony + Black Men Run | Runner Of The Month for August, Mr. Eric Duncan from BMR Atlanta. Thank you to Eric and his story in his own words can be read below:
I was a teenager trying to figure out who I was like every teenager goes through in their lives. I didn’t know who I was going to be. I stopped going to class in high school to hang out with the wrong crowd and joined a gang in Atlanta. I was doing the wrong things until I was incarcerated. I had to reflect on what I was going to do in my life because I couldn’t live like that and see my future go down the drain. I went back to school and graduated with a 1.5 grade point average. I couldn’t get along with my family so I moved out and went from couch to couch until I was homeless for 9 months. I had a job as a dishwasher working at a local restaurant making $3.35 an hour but my home was sleeping under a park table in a pavilion at neighborhood park taking showers at a gym. I couldn’t live like this and told myself I needed to make a change so I join the U.S.Navy. I served in the Navy for 20 years and 21 days and retired from the service.
Running saved my life. When I retired from the U.S.Navy I picked up poor eating habits and ballooned up to 350lbs. One morning I was going to L.A fitness in College Park and I met an active member of Black Men Run. He has just finished running outside and told me about Black Men Run and that their group runs were every Monday at Grant Park. Well, I met the founders and have never stopped running with the group. Since that time, I have finished 12 half marathons and countless 5 and 10ks. I have also lost 90lbs, have felt better and I was selected as co-captain of the local chapter. I have retired from road racing and picked up a new obsession which is run streaking. What happened was I would usually run about 5 days a week. Accidentally in November of 2016 I started to go for a to run before Veterans day but it landed on my rest day so I kept running and 7 days became 10, 30, 20, 100. Now I run 2 to 5 miles every day since November 10th. Today I am still running to continue my streak which is 319 days straight.
I was attending a church in Atlanta and they had a bread ministry. The primary mission of the bread ministry is to give to the homeless, needy and less fortunate than the church. I took upon myself to take over the bread ministry and going out in the streets of Atlanta and giving to the homeless men, women and children. I go to different missions throughout Atlanta and surrounding areas and give free food and clothes to anyone who is down on their luck and homeless. I give to the homeless because I was once in that place of not having a home and I understand what they are going through.
Congratulation to the Saucony + Black Men Run | Runner Of The Month for August, Mr. Chuck Guyton from BMR Charlotte. Thank you to Chuck and his story can be read below:
“To tell a bit about myself I was just a weird big guy that enjoyed life. I was all about having fun and laughing but without realizing it I was slowly killing myself. Although I was 407Lbs I and had a healthy heart I was border line diabetic with a bad case of sleep apnea. I’d often joke to my Doctors when asked how I’m doing I’d say “I’m keeping it below the line to keep kicking”. As I joked I knew I was one half breath from dying at night from not breathing 94+ times I found out during a sleep test, there was several times I’d wake to my wife watching because I’d give her scared at night when she heard me gasp for air.
I knew I had to change when I started having pains in my side but I was too big to fit in an MRI machine so they sent me to an animal hospital to do the scan. I was really sick but the Dr’s said I was too over weight to do anything about it. That’s when I started walking or shall I say my wife started having me walk with her. It was a daunting task because after a .25 of a mile my knees would swell and my lower back would go numb. I stuck with it pushing a bit harder everyday. I started to change my eating habits and portions.
After losing a great deal of weight I was challenged to do a Spartan Race in the mud with obstacles. I took that challenge and not only completed it but finished the year with a trifecta completing all three levels Sprint 3+ miles/Super 8+ miles/ Beast 13+ miles. After completion of those I was introduced to the Black Men Run where running was not my thing, Trotting but not RUNNING! They worked with me stayed by my side showed me the tips and tricks needed to endure long distance running.
I completed over 27 races on one year with 15 being 13.1s. About four months ago I was introduced to the world of cross fit through Camp Gladiators where I just competed in my first competition. Wish me luck because I haven gotten my results by if I did well I’ll be on my way to compete in the games in Dallas TX.
Right now I’m weighing in at 232lbs and doing a trial run for 30days with no meat. I’m not making any promises on never going back to meat but I can guarantee with the support I have now and the quality of life I’m enjoying I won’t be going back to being over weight… The Brothers of Black Men Run won’t let that happen I’m sure! I must say having guys that I can confide in and that are genuinely concerned about my health and well being is something I cherish.”
Congratulation to the Saucony + Black Men Run | Runner Of The Month for July, Mr. Kenn Woodsfrom BMR Raleigh Durham. Thank you to Kenn and his story can be read below:
“I was diagnosed with Leukemia on August 16, 2001. The cancer formed a mass on my spine and left me paralyzed from the waist down. I would spend the next year in a hospital bed not only fighting cancer, but also battling the thought that I may never walk again. Every night, the prayer was the same… “God give me my legs back and I’ll never take them for granted again.” I beat cancer in 2002 but would spend several years learning to walk again.
My weight ballooned to 285 pounds due to years of inactivity so I decided to start running to help get it under control. My first race was the 2013 Charlotte Turkey Trot. It was so much fun, I decided to make the huge leap and train for the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon. I trained for this race completely on my own. My finishing time wasn’t impressive but that didn’t matter. I WAS A RUNNER! Only thing is I never saw anyone that looked like me. That changed at the first Charlotte Race 13.1 in 2015. I was immediately drawn to a huge group of brothers in a circle. I observed the way they would interact with one another both at the start and finish line. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before during a race.
I was running a race one year later and a voice yelled out my Instagram screen name. It was the BMR Raleigh Durham captain Matthew Thompson. When I crossed the finish line these guys embraced me like we’d been running together for years even though I was a stranger. I love BMR and everything this healthy brotherhood is about. I’ll never have to run alone again!”
Congratulation to the Saucony + Black Men Run | Runner Of The Month for June, Mr. Tahir Bradley from BMR South Jersey. Thank you to Tahir and his story can be read below:
“I started running cross country in my freshman year in high school. At the time I could barely run a mile but I decided it would be fun. By the end of my freshman year I made the varsity team and was running a sub 5 minute mile. I went to a school in the city of Newark NJ that didn’t even have its’s own track . We ran intervals in the local Y for training. When I was finished high school our track team from the inner city with no track won a couple of state sectional championships. Two indoor state championships and two outdoor state championships. I went on to run in college and did well in the 800meters and the 1500 meters. After college life hit me. I moved to Boston for a couple years for work and then moved back to NJ where I started a family. I was running off and on for about 10 years but nothing serious.
Fast forward to 2012 I decided to run the Marine Corp Marathon. I trained for this mostly on my own and that was hard. I had a hard time running the race and about 20 miles in I was physically and mentally broken down when another brother tap me on my shoulder and said lets go and he never left my side until we finished. This was my first encounter with the brotherhood. Six months after that I was invited to my first BMR unity run in Cooper River Park in August 2013 where I met Michael Stinson and the BMR crew. I ended up joining the BMR Philly chapter where Mike was the captain. From this point my training and health has changed. I have gone from weighing as much as 230 pounds down to 179 currently. I went from running 300 miles a year to average 1200 miles a year. BMR has provided me with new friendships and has helped me change my diet and how I train. I love running and I love this running group. BMR for life”
On behalf of Black Men Run and Saucony we would like to congratulate Luther Isaac on being the first Black Men Run + Saucony “Runner of the Month” for May 2017. Luther is out of our Black Men Run WASHINGTON, D.C. chapter and his story is told below:
Back in the late 60’s I tried out for my high school track team. After a few practices and drills my coach came to me and said he was going to start a cross country team and I would be a perfect fit. During that time very few high schools in Washington, DC had cross country teams. I told the coach I wanted to run the 100 or 200. He told me I was not built for sprinting, but would excel in distance. I quit the team, and did not run again for about ten years.
I was a young Marine home on leave when a friend mentioned he had been training for months for a marathon he was running the next day. I told him I would run it with him. We ran, I did really well and enjoyed the experience of distance running. Soon thereafter I started running distances. Later I started entering into races and running for the joy of running.
When I joined BMR DC in 2015 the love of running really kicked in. I really did not know how I was going to fit in because I was 10 to 40 years their senior. In the end, it didn’t matter because BMR has a Mission Statement that I had been yearning for, for more 40 years and I am finally experiencing the camaraderie of other Africa American men that’s promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting in ” A Healthy Brotherhood” which I am finding to be a wonderful life experience. #blackmenrun
We are excited to announce our partnership with Saucony as the official shoe of Black Men Run. This partnership will allow Black Men Run to spread its message of “A Healthy Brotherhood” to the world working with Saucony leveraging their global reach and technologically superior running products. This is the first time that an African American all-male running group has ever created a partnership of this type with a shoe company and more details will be coming soon so stay tuned.
In the meantime, we invite everyone to sign up to become a Saucony Product tester. It only takes a few moments to register and when completing the form the last question on the signup page asks, “Is there anything else you would like to share about your running habits and the shoes you wear?” please write “Black Men Run” in that field so that the BMR runners can be easily identified.
Product Testing Link – http://www.saucony.com/en/producttesting
This photo was taken at the Rock N Roll race in Phoenix on January 14th, 2017 and has since been viewed over a million times through social media and on broadcast television all over the world. The original photo was posted on the Black Men Run Facebook fan page and the back story can be found here:
“This is John Wilkie. He is 73 years old. He had a bad fall shortly before the 13 mile marker at the race yesterday. This support and I were able to pick him up and walk him across the finish line, so I could get him to the medal staff. He had a big gash in his head that required stitches, but he was in good spirit. Once they got the bleeding under control, I got his Finisher’s Medal and stayed with him until they said they had it from that point.” – Nathanael Dillard #blackmenrun#nomanleftbehind #ahealthybrotherhood