Black Men Run (BMR) is an organization that is crucial to fighting the health challenges that plague the Black Community. The need for BMR is obvious because the numbers don’t lie. Among Blacks aged 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 with heart disease. Strokes are the #1 cause of death for African American males.
BMR believes that running/jogging can change these alarming trends and they are committed to encouraging African American males to get out and be active. Research tells us that running regularly benefits an individuals’ physical and mental sharpness. Studies show that running regularly helps boost your confidence, relieves stress, and eliminates depression. BMR believes that Black Men can eliminate these challenges with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and proactive efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
BMR has chapters in 56 cities across the USA. Each BMR chapter has a Captain and Co-Captain. The organization also has national sponsorship partners which include, Saucony, Civil Rights Race Series, The Run Show USA, and Vacation Races. This year, their National Black Men Run Meet Up was sponsored by the Detroit Black Free Press.
BMR was co-founded by Jason L. Russell and Edward Walton, CMO. They each express very specific inspirations for WHY they run. Jason L. Russell explains that “I run for my father who is my hero and the epitome of Black Men Run. Now, in his early 70s, he has been running for 30+ years and is more active than anyone I know at his age. He has an incredible drive and lust for life that I attribute to his commitment to running and a healthy lifestyle. In August 2012, I had the honor to run with him for the first time in a 20K relay race sponsored by the Atlanta-based Running Nerds group. Our team finished in the top fourth of all the competitors and I am sure we were the team with the highest average age out of all of the groups. Moral of the story is that you are never too old or young to start running and that running is a lifelong journey. This is why I run.”
BMR Co-Founder, Edward Walton shares, “I run because that is all I know. I have been a runner since I was a child. I participated in youth running from elementary school to grade school, from grade school to high school, from high school to college, and from college to the US Navy team. Running for so long has changed it from exercise to a lifestyle. It brings me peace, and clarity, allows me to de-stress, and gives me the personal space I sometimes need in such a busy and noisy world. Running has allowed me to meet new colleagues, teach and train others who want to run, as well as compete against some of the best athletes to make myself better. It allows me to maintain my health and wellness, things that so many people take for granted. Running allows me to set a new goal every time I “go for a run.” I have competed in 5K’s, 10K’s, half marathons and full marathons. I have run races at night; I have run races in different countries. I run as much as I can. I run with my two sons in mind, as I have always wanted to be a good role model for fitness and accountability for my health. This is why I run.”
BMR has complied a comprehensive video library of training videos from some of the best and most accomplished runners and trainers (USATF & RRCA certified) from around the United States. The videos cover everything from proper stretching techniques to how to increase your speed and pace. Even if you are a seasoned runner you can learn from the tips and tricks so be sure to watch them all. You can find the videos on www.blackmenrun.com.
BMR Houston has Saturday runs open to all skill levels. There is no fee to become a member just the will to run. Jonathan Sprinkles has been leading runs for Black Men Run Houston. If you are interested in joining the Black Men Run Houston group, please search for their Facebook page or search fb://group/517589671662195?