Ahead of Marathon Monday, Black Men Run Boston hopes to bring more diversity to the sport

BOSTON — 8 a.m. and it’s “Sankofa Saturday” in Peabody Square in Dorchester.

Time to lace up and huddle up.

Sankofa is a Ghanaian word meaning “learning from the past to build the future.”

Jeff Davis founded the Boston chapter of black men run — a running club focused on black male health and wellness — with that principle in mind.

“We always haven’t had a space to be seen in this city; in this country as black men. And we want to be able to create where we can actually invest in each other, and invest in our wellness, and be seen,” says Davis.

And with every weekend run, the club has grown over the last three years.

“We have brothers who didn’t run a year, two years ago, who are now doing their first marathon,” says Davis.

This year, four members are running the B.A.A. Boston Marathon this year with the support of their brothers.

“Running has been a really big important part of my life, but particularly in 2013, I became homeless, and running took on a new dynamic in my life,” says first-time marathon runner, Khalil Saddiq.

“It’s everything, man. There’s no representation really outside a couple of our groups. I know I never saw this growing up,” says runner, Victor “VJ” Devine.

Running USA’s 202 National Runner Survey found just 3% of all U.S. runners are black.

It’s why black men run Boston leading the B.A.A’s community shakeout this year will not only boost the visibility of black American runners of color, it will hopefully inspire more young girls and boys to join the sport.

“We learn from each other, we grow from each other,” says Davis. “The inspiration that they share, I think it’s incalculable.”

Black Men Run Boston is not only hoping to bring more diversity to the sport of running in the U.S., they’re looking to save lives.

Founder Jeff Davis points out — if you live in historically black Roxbury, you can expect to live to 58.

If you live in Back Bay you can expect to live to 91 — these adjacent neighborhoods are only three miles apart.

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