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.