Jason Russell has been running since he was a kid. A founding member of Black Men Run, he is dedicated to making fitness and a strong mindset a priority among black men. That’s why he’s more than excited that 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi’s time of 2:08:37 made him the first American male to win the race since 1983.
Russell comments, “Meb’s victory is important to Black Men Run because he acts as an inspiration to other runners. Most of them will never be a world class athlete like Meb, but they can still work to promote health and wellness in their community and be an inspiration, which is one of the goals of Black Men Run.”
Created in July 2013, Black Men Run aims to combat the following:
- Among Blacks age 20 and older, 44.4% of men have Cardiovascular Diseases.
- In 2009, Coronary Heart Disease, CHD, caused the deaths of 21,051 Black males.
- Blacks have a risk of first ever stroke that is almost twice that of whites.
- Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for African American males.
Their official mission statement is “To encourage health and wellness among African American men by promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting in ‘A Healthy Brotherhood’.”
Having 30 chapters throughout the U.S. and a steadily growing membership base, members are recruited via word-of-mouth and social media channels. The group has been “been very effective because we have countless stories of how people have lost weight and transformed their life,” shares Christopher Bazemore, spokesperson for the metro Atlanta chapter.
Russell adds, “We have Black Men Run groups in London and Paris. Overall, membership has grown exponentially and the group continues to add new members everyday.”
Bazemore concludes, “At Black Men Run, we believe that running and jogging can change these alarming trends and we are here to encourage African American males to get out and be active. Research tells us that running on a regular basis not only benefits individuals from a physical standpoint but also increases mental sharpness. Studies show that running on a regular basis helps to boost your confidence, relieves stress and eliminates depression.”
You can join by signing up for the Black Men Run Meetup page or by visiting www.blkmenrun.com.
Please be sure to flip through the gallery of photos and check out the black men committed to maintaining and improving their overall health.