UCAN, one of the leading sports energy supplement providers, recently conducted an online panel discussion on the challenges facing black runners and how the running community can offer support. Jon was invited to speak on the panel, which included the following speakers:
Varun Sriram, UCAN (host)
Jay Ell Alexander, CEO of Black Girls RUN!
Tony Reed, Co-Founder of National Black Marathoners Association
Edward Walton, Co-Founder of Black Men Run
Alisa Harvey, Masters World Record Holder
Jon Rankin, 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Alternate, Founder of Go Be More
We’ve embedded the video below, which should begin at the point Jon joins the discussion. I particularly liked Jon’s advice for what the running community can do (1:15:00):
I think one of the most important things that I could imagine happening is, within the running community, is to see the white runners actually getting outside of their comfort zone and connecting with their black coworkers, their black neighbors. If you are a white runner, reach out to those that you have not reached out to before that are black.
I think that it’s an interesting thing. You know, you mentioned to me the power of running. I believe running can save the world. I believe sports can save the world because it’s a connecting thing. It’s a bridge between different cultures, different people, different races, genders.
It’s a bridge and I know that we’re all missing it due to COVID-19 or missing sports. The world seems very empty without it. I don’t really think we realized until now how powerful sports were and how much we’ve taken it for granted? I think that white runners need to consider using the sport that they love, the sport that has transformed their life as a tool to build a bridge and to build a connection and to strengthen a relationship and a bond with their black friends, coworkers, neighbors and to open up a dialogue that they have not had. Not only not with those individuals, but also with themselves.
You’ve got to find a common denominator. I think the sport of running, as we all know, is unbelievably powerful when it comes to transformation and being transformative. So it’s an invitation. I invite more white runners to do something. Cause it isn’t just on black runners. It’s on all of us in the running community to do something, and honestly do something that you’re not comfortable with because we’ve been uncomfortable for a very long time. I don’t care if it’s uncomfortable at this point. We need to do something about it and if you truly do care, reach out. We’ll meet you half way, but you need to reach out.
If you’d like to invite Jon to speak or participate in one of your events, please contact him here.