The last word.

Author:Reed, Anthony R.
Position:Marathon-running accountant

We lived for a period of time when I was young in housing projects in St. Louis. I saw a lot of things growing up that, if given the opportunity, I would have changed. And I guess you could say that I have spent the better part of my life, as far as volunteer activities, trying to change those things. For example, I co-founded the National Black Marathoners' Association in part because I felt it was important to promote a healthy lifestyle, through walking and running, within the black community.

Right now we have over 500 members, and new people are joining virtually every day. In five years, I would like to have 2,000 to 3,000 members. I envision us going to a race wearing our red jerseys and black shorts and just seeing a sea of red going along the course. I want us to inspire other blacks--children as well as adults. I want them to see that it's all right to go ahead and run and that your athletic career doesn't end when you get out of high school or college. When I was in high school, I ran cross country as well as track and I played soccer for four seasons. So that really perked my interest in running. Compared to other sports, it was inexpensive, and it was also a lifetime sport. As of today, I've completed 88 marathons.

At the time I started trying to complete marathons on all seven continents, I didn't realize that no blacks had accomplished this goal. l wanted to prove three points by completing the 7C goal. I wanted to: Show black youths that you can have dreams and aspirations to move from poverty to exploring faraway lands; show black adults, regardless of their age, that you can maintain a healthy lifestyle as you get older--I was 52 years old when I completed this goal; and I wanted to dispel the myth that CPAs, accountants and IT professionals are geeky, nonathletic homebodies.


My favorite race was the Great Wall Marathon in China. You're running on a piece of history. That was the...

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