“BRO serves to organise, educate and condition the Black Community on the basis of running as a practical demonstration of unity. #LETSGROW”
This month we are excited to bring you a diverse running group from over the pond! All the way from Baltimore, we introduce you to Black Running Organisation (BRO)!!! TSL Girls speak to Isa Olufemi and his fiancée, Intea Deshields about why and how they set up BRO in 2014; what aims of the organisation; and how BRO is changing the look and feel of running, by increasing the number of black and diverse runners in Baltimore. In the words of BRO, LETSGROW!
We discuss how BRO is helping to shape and strengthen the communities in Baltimore and what the ethos is behind their important clarion cry of “LETSGROW!” We explore with Isa why he considers running to be a cultural principle for black people; the importance running has on the psyche of a black man; how it can be used to teach discipline, commitment and drive; and how the collective family achieves so much more than the pursuit of individualism so prevalent in Western society.
Isa, who worked as a college access program specialist with the CollegeBound Foundation in Baltimore, also speaks about his work setting up the Poet’s Pride Run Club which combines running and fitness with educational attainment. The Club, which secured funding for 4 years, worked to demonstrate the general importance of fitness, taking their students for a scheduled Unity Run every day at 7am, followed by individual and group advice sessions to help prepare students for college. The Club embodied the importance of commitment by requiring students who needed the support of the Club to commit to the running sessions in order to access the advice provided. Isa and his work with the Poet's Pride Rub Club was picked up in a number of media outlets, including a feature in Runners World Magazine.
Isa also explains why attendance at The Race in Atlanta every October must become a rites of passage run for every card carrying Runner of Colour!
This amazing, insightful discussion highlights the importance of forging and maintaining links with running groups of colour across the pond who are looking to change things up exponentially. TSL girls are so happy that we stumbled across BRO during Black October last year, as the group works to emphasise the message of pan-Africanism, focussing on black unity and black pride, making huge waves whilst doing so.
You can follow Black Running Organisation on Instagram: @blkrunorg or on Facebook @blkrunorg.
You can also follow The Race on Instagram: @therace_uc.
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Theme music: Street Festival by Franco Eneiro. Used under licence.