We are ALL Running Ambassadors

We are ALL Running Ambassadors by Chandra Marshall

February was Black History month. During this month, we celebrated Black people and their amazing contributions to society. We also celebrated our culture. It’s a great culture! However, as an African-American woman in my mid-40s, I am always shocked at the lack of diversity I see on race day, running in my “hood”, and on social media platforms. Where are all the Black runners, especially Black women runners? We also have a lot to contribute to this sport! 

I’m getting carried away.  Let me introduce myself and share my story. I’m Chandra, a professional, wife, and mother of 2. I started running in my mid 30s after having a baby and wanted to lose my baby weight.    

When I voiced my desire to start running, I had incredible women of color and women with very little color (with the exception of a runner’s tan) embrace me and teach me everything they knew about the sport. We connected through sisterhood and a love of running. Running is a powerful connector.  When I tell Black women that I run, many of them love the idea of running but don’t see themselves as runners. I’ve heard every excuse in the book! Some of those excuses include: what will I do about my hair, I’m not built like a runner, my knees are bad, running is boring, blah, blah, blah. 

Black runners unite! Let’s become ambassadors of the sport. Let’s share our love for running with the world and let everyone know why we run. I’ll go first. I run for many reasons, but I will list my top 5.  

1. I run because physical activity keeps my heart and lungs healthy. Last year my doctor gave me the best compliment I could ever receive. She said, “You are definitely a runner, I can always tell a runner’s lungs!” AMAZING! My lungs collapsed when I was 19 years old. The doctors told me that another collapsed lung would be the death of me! Not today devil!  

2.  I run because it’s my time. ME Time! As a professional, wife and mother, I stay busy. I run early in the morning, before the sun comes up. It’s my time to pray, listen to a motivational audible book or process the thoughts in my head.  

3. I run because a runner’s high is real. After a run I can do anything! I get the high without the hangover.  

4. I run because I get to see what my body is capable of and it’s capable of A LOT! I am so grateful for this body. To me, it’s perfect.  And, so is yours!  

5. I run because it’s the best sisterhood I could ever imagine. I have formed amazing bonds with other women who just want to crush their goals and get out there and support one another. Isn’t that amazing?!?  

Simply put, I run because it brings me joy! So much JOY! Please follow me as I share my love of running, healthy eating and motivational stories @fit4joy. Remember, we are ALL running ambassadors. Like James Brown used to sing, “Say It Loud, I’m a Runner and I’m Proud”…..or something like that.