Knoxville Black Men Run movement is about ‘much more than the running’

There’s an invisible health crisis facing American Black men. But in Knoxville, they are doing something about it.

They’re running for our lives literally, they say.  

Phillip Tucker, a licensed mental health professional and Austin-East Magnet High School alum, started the first Knoxville chapter of Black Men Run, a national running group focused on promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“I’m a runner, and there’s not a lot of Black representation here in the Knoxville running the community, despite how large it is. There’s just not a lot of us,” Tucker told Knox News.

After joining the Black Men Run organization’s Facebook group, he said the local chapter came to be after a national representative gauged his interest in bringing it to Knoxville.

“It took off from there,” he said.

Phillip Tucker (center), co-captain of the local local chapter of Black Men Run, leads a group at Victor Ashe Park.

Since the group’s inception in September, about eight men take part in the weekly runs at Victor Ashe Park, and the group hopes to attract more runners to get involved. But the turnout isn’t stopping them from collectively coming together and taking advantage of all the benefits of physical activity and camaraderie.

“We’ve got guys who are out there all ages, with kids, grandkids, married, single and just interested in taking care of their health,” Tucker said.

Even better, the group’s mission has produced results.

“We’ve got a diabetic in the group and every week he’s coming in talking about having fewer symptoms. Since he started actively participating in the group, his sugar levels subsided and his energy increased. That’s what it’s all about. Just seeing guys come out and bond with other Black men and see the results in their daily lives,” he said.