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Jun 10, 2020

Running While Black in New York

Coffey shares his story of falling in love with running in NYC, his perspective on the pain and upheaval of recent weeks, and his bold idea for harnessing the positive energy of runners to make a difference. (Photo: Courtesy Coffey/Instagram)
Coffey shares his story of falling in love with running in NYC, his perspective on the pain and upheaval of recent weeks, and his bold idea for harnessing the positive energy of runners to make a difference.

There’s been a running boom in the age of coronavirus, with veteran runners and newbies alike lacing up their shoes to get outside. But the experience has not been the same for everyone. Coffey, a well-known figure in New York City’s vibrant running scene as well as a multitalented creative artist, has continued to get his miles in during the pandemic. And like other runners whose skin is black or brown, he has faced the same risks of harassment and violence that were present before the virus arrived—along with new dangers. Coffey also has a deeply considered response to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd: last week, he released the short film About the People, which examines social injustice and racial inequality in America through a powerful conversation between men who are pillars in the black community. In this episode, Coffey shares his story of falling in love with running in NYC, his perspective on the pain and upheaval of recent weeks, and his bold idea for harnessing the positive energy of runners to make a difference.


This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by Tracksmith, an independent running brand with a deep love for the sport. Tracksmith is offering Outside Podcast listeners $15 off your first product purchase of $75 or more. Go to Tracksmith.com/outside and enter the code OutsidePod at checkout.

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.