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on the move for change - feature

on the move for change

on the move for change
boston’s UNMD run crew was founded in 2015 as a community of joy, comfort, and safety for runners of color. what started as a way to bring people together and run has become a space to pursue justice through movement. whether through weekly runs, monthly action based solidarity runs, or large scale protests for black lives, UNMD is by and for the people.
It’s a Tuesday night in spring. The sky seems lighter than it did at this time last week. Is it? Maybe that’s wishful thinking. The crew members come trickling in from all directions. This one on a bike. Two more come walking out the doors of the subway station. There’s always one who comes in at a run, already warmed up, having put in a few extra miles first. We come from all corners of the city. Some every week. Some every few months. Doesn’t matter. We’re always glad to see you.

We do some stretches. Limber up a little as we chat amongst ourselves. Leandrew sends us off with our usual chant:
“on the move! ready to go! who are we? UNNAMED!”
Off we head, into the streets, finally clear of ice. Winter meant starting in the semi-dusk on the streets and sidewalks of Boston, dodging loose bricks in the sidewalk that cast menacing shadows that threatened to twist an ankle. On the nights with ice and snow, we were down to a skeleton crew of hardy souls, feeling proud of ourselves for braving the elements, but windburned nonetheless. Haven’t we put in enough time suffering through the cold?

Now it’s finally Spring. Spring feels like hope. Like we made it through a long, dark sleep. Now we’re waking up. The music turns up a little louder. We feel bolder and take up a little more space on the sidewalks. The beat and the increased light and the feeling of freedom as we dodge and weave en masse, pushing each other faster. Like the winter ice thawing and turning to water, we get our flow back. We stream around impediments in our path: Construction cones. Potholes. We wait up for our fellow crew members cruising in the back of the pack. Never leave someone behind. The pack moves together. We catch our breath. The light turns green. We start again, running. Using up the daylight until it’s gone.
“we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves.”
about the author
caitlin sweeney

caitlin sweeney is a boston-area interior designer, mother and big fan of running with friends, either in the city or the woods.