Well it's Black History month and last week I had a blog entry aptly titled, "The Ignorant Negroes of Harlem"....in the spirit of the month I ask the question: The National Black Marathoners' Association (NBMA), What is wrong with these negroes? Yes, there is such an association - glad to see it, - very much needed. It's co-founded by an impressive guy there on the left below, Tony Reed. Tony's ran for 25 years and all over the world - in that photo he is running in last weeks "Lost Dutchman Marathon" the event where the Black Marathoners held its annual gathering. Tony & I have corresponded - I am not speaking out of school here - this is going to get ugly y'all. The NBMA estimates that a little less than 2 percent of U.S. marathoners are Black. I say the NBMA does not know the demographics of marathoning in America. Note Tony Reed is the unofficial spokesman of Black American Marathoning. I get emailed and asked about Blacks (American) and marathoning - invited to participate in books on the subject, etc. - I am sure Tony does too - Tony gets interviewed far more than me. White people (Runner's World) basically defers to Tony the recognition as being the leading authority on the subject - though Tony's accomplished at marathoning - he does not know much on the subject, at least I've never seen hints of knowledge in interviews - he's never once said the name Ted Corbitt - and you all know how I am when it comes to Ted, right? On the Black Marathoners website.... , I have never seen mention of Ted, Eddie Gardner, Oscar Moore, Jr, Lou White, I can go on and on and get turn of the Century on you in a nano-second [Historical Black figures in distance running]. But you know what I do see on the Black Marathoners website?...a tribute to the 1865 Emancipation Proclamation - their logo. A remembrance to Slavery? That's your fucking logo? Tony Reed, is this the best you can do? Would it be too much to ask for a logo that is more forward thinking, more celebratory, something that suggest fitness, health, movement of the human body? A contemporary " joie de vivre" spirit (joy of living)....? No, the Black Marathoners go with a logo that looks like a Generic License Plate. Anytime I need to be reminded I am an "ex-slave" in heritage I look at the Black Marathoners logo that brands and keeps Slave Stigma alive and well. Congratu-fucking-lations on self-ghetto-izing yourself. I ask you, what is wrong with these Negroes? Back to the point, since about 425,000+ people completed marathons last year, the Black Marathoners are saying a little more than 8,000 Black Americans ran marathons in '07. That did not happen. How do I know - I just know. Where did they run them? I live on the NYC Marathon route - I know how many Black people I see......seriously, I've seen this 2% number floated around - to my awareness there is nothing supporting it. You will not see 100 Black people (2%) in a NYRR Half Marathon of 5,000. I would guess somewhere between 0.5% - 1% at the very most of marathon finishers in '07 were Black, closer to 0.5% in fact, certainly not 2% or 8,500 or so - no way. In response to the question of why don't Blacks run distance, Tony Reed said, "With a lot of Americans, it's easier to take a pill or a shot than to get up off the couch and become active," Reed said of what he calls the diseases of inactivity. Is this Tony Reed nicely saying, "Negroes are lazy"? Funny - I say the same thing about the Black Marathoners - his ogranization. In that linked article Tony Reed said in 2005, about 15 runners ran the inaugural Black Marathoners event at the Louis & Clark Marathon. Tony Reed said he anticipates more than 150 black runners converged in Phoenix last Sunday for the Lost Dutchman Marathon . (note some ran the Half Marathon and lesser distance events at the same venue). Fort Worth's Cowtown Marathon will be the 2009 venue. Membership in the Black Marathoners has increased to 800. Tony's compiled his race memories in a new book titled Running Shoes Are Cheaper Than Insulin: Marathon Adventures on All Seven Continents. It's a collection of stories chronicling his 25 years of running. Reed, always goal-driven, now aspires to finish 100 marathons. He ran No. 92 at the Lost Dutchman and No. 93 in 3 days at Cowtown Marathon . He plans to run No. 100 at Cowtown 2009 with his fellow NBMA members on hand. Tony, Tony, Tony....why are you running marathons spaced 5 days apart? I know lots of people who do this - they run a marathon every single weekend, week after week. They even have an organization I've mentioned before, the Marathon Maniacs. That's their logo on the left. What Tony is doing is "compiling" - that's all, it's not hard. Worse, it marginalizes and depreciates the whole marathon event for yourself - which is cool, if that's what you want to do. Lots of people enter marathons, proceed to basically use them as long slow distance training runs, get the medal, etc. and that's it. When you race a Marathon at your best effort, you need time to ramp up & train, taper, run the event, and recover. That's a process of months to do it anywhere near your maximum potential. When you run marathons week after week, you're not racing, you're compiling miles at a 75% or 80% effort at best. I have a different orientation to marathoning. Compiling stats, numbers, does not appeal to me - I marathon for performance. I don't half-ass it - and perhaps I am not a member of the Black Marathoners because I am convinced it's a half-ass organization content with being insular. If you're into marginal efforts.....or groups, clubs, hey...whatever, that's not me. The Black Marathoners ? I don't even know where to begin to illustrate this.... The logo is awful, they don't know marathon demographics, and they make no effort to expand, progress, or be a dynamic organization. How do I know? I reached out to them, and all the ancillary affiliated running clubs connected to them. There's 1 in Atlanta I think, a chapter in Chicago, Cleveland, there in Texas where it's based out of with Tony. I contacted ALL OF THEM in email, making an effort to bond, network, etc. 1 of these chapters got back to me - never heard from ANY of the rest... this was at the beginning of last year - and they need some presence in NYC for goodness sake - they have none here - with the biggest running club in the world, the NYRR. I can get them at least 100 earmarked set aside entries in the NYC Marathon with little trouble - I am sure of that. But we don't network or have dialog....I got them figured out (very insular thinking). The Black Marathoners know shit about how to build a dynamic organization - just look at their model now. What the fuck is the Black Marathoners Association doing having their annual event in Apache Junction, AZ? The organization needs to grow - most Black runners in NYC never heard of the organization - for real. Their 2009 event is the "Cowtown Marathon" - well that's nice and convenient for Tony Reed (it's where he lives)....but awful for the growth of the Black Marathoners. What is wrong with these Negroes? I understand they want to summit at events that have multiple race lengths other than the marathon distance so more can participate - fine, I get it. Still....the Georgia Marathon also has a Half Marathon Race; the LA Marathon has a 5K Run/Walk event, in Washington DC there is the National SunTrust Marathon and Half. Atlanta, LA, DC. Major metro city events with in place Black communities justifying more people to go because it's quite likely they have friends & family they could also visit on the trip - it just further justifies participating in the event for a typical Black person. Plus there are other Black professional organizations robust in size - in these cities (accountants, engineers, physicians, sororities, fraternities etc.) to tap into, promote and recruit from & with. In sum, an ideal infrastructure is in place to conjure a ground swell of promotion, word of mouth, interest and participation with the Black Marathoners - in the held annual event /venue. The Philadelpia Marathon also has a Half, 8K, and a Kids Run - perfect for all. Strategically locate - that's how you grow & expand - further your goal and mission - it's called "optimizing" your charter - you have events in Vegas & Orlando for "value added" reasons - there are other attractions for all - reasons to go....but what does Tony Reed & the Black Marathoners do? They have their summit in Apache-fucking-Junction, Arizona? And in '09 it's the Cowtown? I ask you, what is wrong with these Negroes? There's no organizational dynamism, no strategic thinking. For example, when you hold these events in major cities - there's media in place (print & TV), these events have major sponsors - Verizon's affiliated with the Philadelphia Marathon, well Verizon also has all sorts of foundations, programs, scholarships, etc. aimed at African Americans - there is all sorts of synergy to be conjured for the NBMA in recognizing, valuing, and leveraging alliances with marathons that have in place programs & connections serving African Americans - promoting education, health, fitness to Black communities. The Black Marathoners seem to be hell bent on holding their summit in February? Why? Black History month? Dumb, think bigger please, broader...... Black professional organizations hold their annual summit meetings at all sorts of times during the year, they do not confine themselves to February annual meetings for the sake of Black History month. In sum, the whole mindset of the Black Marathoners? - sorry, I just can't get down with it, too insular, too small. I am not just criticizing - I've offered some solid paths to improvement in this blog entry - I hope they take my words and run with them - #1 revise the logo for starters, hell it looks more like a mug shot number/ID plate that you are forced to hold at your chest when arrested and booked, #2 network in all cities (don't stay insular) reach out to people - market online, hell it ain't that hard, create a blog for crissakes, the Black Marathoners are basically non-existent on the East & West coasts. #3 align with major sponsor events in major cities, etc. hence align with ING / Atlanta - Georgia for that event, etc. - in sum, become relevant, that means bigger than Tony Reed. Right now the Black Marathoners is all about Tony Reed - and when he places the '09 event in his backyard for the Cowtown race - looks to me he's preserving insular think, c'mon Tony....be bigger - something he should have no problem doing....Sadly I am not a member of the Black Marathoners, isn't that something?.....and really does not make sense - until you digest my reasons why in this blog - a lack of dynamism....and they don't want to hear from me - I do more to promote the awareness of Blacks & marathoning than that whole organization ......and I would not be a member of any organization with such a fucked up logo that reflects backward to your slave heritage. "What is wrong with these negroes"? Have a great day!