“The beautiful thing about F.E.A.R. is that it is for anybody and [after] you run one time you’re considered a runner,” said Tenia Fisher, director of health and wellness for Social X MKE. “So, we make sure that we really focus on that, building relationships, and really advocating for Black runners, especially, to be represented in the running world.”
Forget Everything And Run (F.E.A.R.) is a Milwaukee-based program that encourages BIPOC people to stay active through running. The program, created by local Milwaukee organization Social X MKE, began in 2015.
Social X MKE, Fisher noted, is a “business that encourages young professionals of color to stay in Milwaukee. And we want to actually retain and recruit talent in Milwaukee.”
Social X’s business platform is held up by six pillars: social impact; arts and culture, community service; personal and professional development; talent retention; recruitment; and health and wellness. The F.E.A.R. program is a constituency of the health and wellness pillar.
“I feel like Black people are very scared sometimes to get out and do fitness events outside their box,” Fischer noted. “And if you don’t see others like you doing that sport, it’s very hard for you to want to join or do anything if you don’t see anyone like yourself doing that.
“[F.E.A.R.] is geared towards anybody and that is what makes our crew very unique,” Fisher continued. “So it can be someone that runs in college, someone that’s running marathons and 5ks all the way to someone who has never run ever before,” Fischer continued.
The F.E.A.R programming season lasts from April to October with meetings every week on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Riverwest Filling Station and Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. at Atwater Park.
Each meeting begins with a group warm-up followed by a run in which runners will split into groups by the amount of mileage they plan to run led by F.E.A.R. team captain. After the run, participants are invited to grab food or drinks as a group.
“We’re all family,” Fisher noted.
Due to the current global health crisis, F.E.A.R. pivoted to be completely online. Instead of group runs, runners will first warm up with a team captain over Instagram Live then comment what they will be running in the Instagram Live comment sections. After each run, runners can post how many miles they ran.
However, Fisher added that F.E.A.R. still hosted online group events once a month to “keep the program alive and stay connected” while participants remained at home.
“We’re still together even though we’re apart,” she said.
Fischer also noted that F.E.A.R. has seen a lot of success among their runners over the years.
“We have people that clearly joined, were complaining that they couldn’t run that two miles, that we had. Everybody had to do two miles at least. Now they’re running half marathons and this is not an exaggeration, we have people that were complaining about doing two or three miles and now, six years later, they’re able to sign up for a half marathon and actually go through all the training and run the race and feel good about themselves,” Fisher said.
In the future, Fisher hopes to expand F.E.A.R. to make “a bigger impact” on the Milwaukee running community.
“Making a bigger impact and setting ourselves up to be in the forefront and not only having a seat at the table but making our own table, choosing who we want to sit at that table with us, and making a change that way,” Fisher says. “I think the time is over for us [to be] asking for seats and to be asking to be on this and asking to do this. We’re just going to start developing on our own and making it our own and everyone else is going to want to join in.”
Starting in January of 2021, Fisher noted, Social X MKE will be offering its first “health and wellness” event of the new year.
The annual event is called the “30 for 30” challenge in which participants work out every day for the 30 days of January. Participants will post about their completed workouts using the “30 for 30” hashtag. At the end of the month, participants who completed the challenges will receive prizes from Social X MKE.