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Thursday, January 22, 2015

MLK Run/Walk In Bklyn with BGR and BMR

A few years ago I reconnected with a High School Buddy on FaceBook and found out we shared a passion for running. Neither Alden or I ran in High School, we both discovered running later in life.  Its through Alden and Var that I was introduced to Black Men Run.  BMR was created in 2013 by Jason Russell and Edward Walton, to promote a healthy brotherhood within the African-American community.

The Incomparable K-Rod 

Many would consider BMR as the male counterpart to BGR-(Black Girls Run) a running community created by Toni Carey and Ashely Hicks in 2009 in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American Community and to provide encouragement and resources to both new and veterans runners.

The Men and Women of BGR and BMR NYC

Both organizations have chapters across the U.S. and beyond.  Its one thing to read about an event or hear about it from a friend, but it's different experience it up close and personal.

Kovon Flowers, the Capt of the Brooklyn Chapter sent me an invitation to a joint run/walk event with BGR & BMR in Honor of Martin Luther King Day.  And I'm glad accepted the invitation.  I was rushing to Bklyn from CT heading down the FDR Hwy hoping not to miss the meet greet and group picture, the video below describes scene.

The  Brooklyn Ambassador for BGR, Ethell K. Wilson-Diallo reached out to Kovon for assistance in rallying the men of BMR for the event, being a man of action Kovon said: "Let's do this" and started spreading the word.  According to Var Kelly: "The men BMR NYC have asked for an event for us both to come together for a while. We often see one another at various events around the city; we often take pictures together as well. There is already such a high level of communication between BGR NYC and BMR NYC that it was inevitable that an event such as this would eventually occur. And now, I think both groups are going to want to do more of them. LOL"!  

Kovon's poll of some of the Men of BMR confirmed the desire of for more collaborative events during the year.  "Many of the women knew about us but, it was good for us to come together and run"  As the cars passed on Court Street, you could see the   surprised looks on the faces of the occupants, we definitely made an impact."

Kovon Flowers with Monica and Var Kelly

The energy before the race in a word was "Crazyelectric" yeah I know that's two words.  The plan was to meet downtown Brooklyn for a group picture then head over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan and run along the West side Hwy to 59th Street and back.

BGR ladies making their way across the bridge

Do you think I could get $29.99 a pop for the digital pics?  lol...
Even though I grew up in Brooklyn, I felt like a tourist stopping along the way to snap a few flicks of the sites, I was just starting to warm up and settle into my stride and then I remembered it wasn't a race-duh!!  I could relax and enjoy the company of other runners.

Marlon aka(Lean Fast Strong) BMR Bklyn Co-Capt
and Christopher J P Sewell
I typically train on my own, I've done a few fun runs with my LRS and the only time I run with a group is during a race and even then I'm running alone.  Group runs offer a different dynamic, one of the things I found interesting was the concern for the safety and well being of the runners.  Given the icy conditions from the previous days freezing rain storm, Marlon was nominated to survey the route to ensure the safety of the runners.

BMR NYC Group has 3 runs a week. These occur on Wednesday (7pm @ Prospect Park), Saturday (usually 7 am starting at Prospect Park) and Sunday (11 am @ Prospect Park). Wednesday runs are short runs of about 3-miles. They are for all levels runner/jogger/walker. Someone is always there to ensure the motto “No Brother Left Behind” is in play. Saturday runs are long runs. These are for those who are in the midst of training for various races. These long runs usually are over 6-miles. They sometimes stay within Prospect Park, Brooklyn NY but mostly go around NYC.  Sunday runs are similar to Wednesday runs; the schedule is for short runs usually within Prospect Park. 

The BMR NYC group has long been a group that many other northern states have looked at for motivation and inspiration. We continue to be a lead model for them. Also, this chapter generally supports many local chapters including NJ, Penn, and DC. Since travel between these states is around 2 hours, it is no problem for us to travel to them or them to us – in order to support and build the brotherhood

I could have dropped a layer.  What a great day for a run...

Should you every find yourself in Brooklyn and want go for a group run consider running with BGR or BMR, whatever you decide run happy.

Special thanks to Kovon, Ethell, Marlon, Monica and Marlon aka Lean Fast Strong for their contributions in helping with this post, but more importantly their leadership passion participation and building of the vision of BGR and BMR.