Running With The ‘Movers And Pacers’ Is A Lesson In Pushing Limits While Building Community

03.29.18 1 year ago

Movers and Pacers

I woke up from my customary Sunday afternoon nap with one wish: “Baby, please say it’s raining.”

My friend Maurice Garland told me about Movers and Pacers when I first moved to Atlanta, in 2014, and let me know that really ought to “come out and run with them one week.” Just come out, no pressure. Since that mention, I followed the running crew’s Instagram page but I never participated in their events. I was intrigued, but not that intrigued.

The premise behind the group seemed simple enough: 20 to 30 mostly-black, young, Atlanta-based, health-conscious socialites get together every Sunday and run anywhere from two to eight miles. But in the years since I was told about Movers and Pacers, I’d find out that they were much more than just that. They were everywhere.

The runners would take up a whole table at Maurice’s Hip-Hop trivia night. I’d hear members chatting at movie screenings in the city, plotting their next run. And I’d see them sharing pictures on social media, too. They were like a social club. A secret society that wasn’t so secret. An inclusive clan that moved to the beat of its own drum. And I wanted to get to know them, but not like this.

I dreaded my Uproxx editor’s response when I pitched writing about M&P. Not because I was scared he’d say no, but because I knew what he was going to ask me to do: “You know, it’d be great if you got out and ran with them at some point… for the story. Really get some sensory detail.”

Which is why I was in my bed on a Sunday afternoon begging my wife to conjure up a weather forecast that gave me an excuse not to run.

“Sorry,” my wife said, trying to break it to me softly. “Clear skies all day.”

Dammit. I trudged over to the closet to get my shoes.

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