As thousands of long-distance runners prepare for Sunday’s Dallas Marathon, the National Black Marathoner’s Association will be holding its annual summit and banquet.
Tony Reed is the co-founder and executive director of the group. He's also one of 40 people in the world to complete the marathon hat trick - more than 100 marathons in all 50 states and seven continents. Reed talked about how his group is trying to get more African-Americans into long-distance running.
Interview Highlights: Tony Reed…
On the lack of black distance runners:
“One of the things we realized is that there’s not a lot of publicity in the African community about African-American distance runners and the benefits associated with it, so we have a program based on education, training and sustainability. We want to try to embed running clubs in the African-American community.
We think it may take 20 or 30 years for the percentage of African-American runners in distance races to match the U.S. population.”
On how he became a marathoner:
“When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with a pre-diabetic condition. The doctor said I would go on insulin when I was a teenager, but I went to a high school where it was mandatory to participate in a sport two out of the three seasons. At third season, you had to take a P.E. class.
I ended up losing weight, and then went on to college. In college, again I had to take P.E., and one of the books we had to read was ‘Aerobics’ by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, and it was one paragraph in the book that said ‘diabetics who are dependent on insulin could either decrease their insulin intake or go completely off of it if they maintain a fitness regime.’
With that in mind, I decided to set a lifetime goal of averaging three miles a day of running. I felt if I did that, I could avoid having to take insulin. In January, I ran my 40,000th mile, and at 60 years old, I’m still not on insulin.”
On running a marathon in Antarctica:
“Our race director told us there are more people in a Walt Disney theme park in one day than have ever set foot in Antarctica. It had dawned on me that I had never met anyone who had ever been to Antarctica, and so getting the opportunity to run down there was very special.”
Tony Reed is the co-founder and executive director of the National Black Marathoner’s Association.