Long-Distance Running Mates: Harlem Women Are In With Planned Parenthood | Newsweek

BY MICHELE GORMAN

UC - Harlem To DC

The title character in the movie Forrest Gump gains national attention when he embarks on a coast-to-coast running journey that lasts three years, two months, 14 days and 16 hours. “That day, for no particular reason,” Gump says in the 1994 film, “I decided to go for a little run.”

Unlike the fictional character, four New York City women have a very particular purpose for soon setting out on a feat of endurance that won’t come close to Gump’s, but will be most impressive nonetheless. On January 18, they will lace up their sneakers on a corner in the Harlem neighborhood and begin pacing themselves through at least 240 miles before reaching their destination: the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In total, they aim to complete the equivalent of more than nine marathons in less than three days—by 10 a.m. on January 21—when thousands of Americans are expected to participate in the Women’s March to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. During their estimated 64-hour journey, the women will hustle on side roads and bike paths through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and D.C., running each mile in between nine and 12 minutes.

A week before she puts foot to pavement en route to D.C., group leader Alison Mariella Désir told Newsweek the idea for the so-called moving march snowballed in her mind as she thought of ways to make her daily running more meaningful, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s surprising election loss to Trump. The Democratic nominee had hoped to break the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman elected president of the United States. “Just like the march, it’s a way to energize women and allow us to feel like we can do something,” says Désir, 31, a running coach and self-described social entrepreneur who in 2013 founded what is now the Harlem Run running group.

Read more: Long-Distance Running Mates: Harlem Women Are In With Planned Parenthood | Newsweek

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