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"I know how tempting the bad choices in life can be. I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where gangbanging or basketball were your only two choices. The bad kids would walk into school with expensive new shoes and jewelry. You knew they were mugging and beating people up.  I had to do so many little things to avoid those kids. When I saw those kids hanging around the block, I’d walk the other way. I’d spend all my free time playing basketball, staying out of their way. One day, a group of those kids walked up to me on the basketball court. “We about to rob this joint. Want to come with?” “It’s simple, pull up, run in, run out.” It seemed so easy to me. It was definitely tempting. But i heard a voice inside my head saying “stay strong kit, stay strong”. I made it this far and I wasn’t about to ruin it. I remember feeling a sigh of relief as they walked away.

I started a running group a few years ago, to give people in my neighborhood the same courage I had on that basketball court. To join something good over the bad things. Community is a funny thing, though. People generally want to be a part of something, whether that thing is good or bad. People want to feel like they belong. I hope my running group will allow people to feel welcome and push themselves to be better."

@kitwanajohn is the founder of @movementrunners, a running group that brings together all walks of life, to run as a community. 

Rock Lee