Created out of an urge to promote more active lifestyles in the Nashville community, 6RUN5’s mission is to change the narrative of running for people of color. Co-founders Emily Fields and Stephen Love-Wade have worked tirelessly to cultivate an environment that inspires others to run and reach their highest potential.
At a time when we have all been staying at home under quarantine, getting outside and running is more important than ever.
“I want to see more people that look like me running in Nashville,” Stephen says. “I feel as if people don’t know what they don’t know. So if I can expose running to more people, more people will run. For years I’ve usually been the only black man running at races, or one of very few, and I want to change that.”
Stephen, who works in the healthcare field for Vanderbilt Medical Center, started running in 2016. He started with a 30-mile in 30-day challenge that eventually led him to grow more competitive. Shortly after, Stephen started running 5K races which have led to him running 14 half marathons. He wanted to influence others to run and in the summer of 2018 created the #RunYourOwnRace Challenge to have people start running regardless of their fitness level.
“The [#RunYourOwnRace Challenge] has been an ongoing evolution. Our first year – before Emily and I started the group – we had 100 people participate. Once we collectively started the club it was almost at 200. Our most recent challenge had 277 runners, so I’m beyond grateful for the growth it has seen in roughly a short period of time,” Stephen says.
Both Emily and Stephen see the importance of creating a run group in their local community and started 6RUN5 in June of 2019. Since then they have created weekly group runs to help encourage others to experience the joys of running and the positive changes it can have on our lifestyles.
“Running has always been a stress reliever for me,” Emily says. “I started running because my mom, who is an avid runner, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Running was a way to take my mind off what was going on with her and to start taking my health more seriously. I’m a middle school teacher as well as a basketball coach so life can be stressful, especially during the running season. Whether I’m running on Jefferson Street or in Brentwood, I’m able to zone out and enjoy the scenery as while taking a break from my current situations or responsibilities.”
Emily is also the Athletic Director at East End Prep and started running in 2014. Since her mother beat cancer, she has run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Music City Half Marathon twice. In May 2019, Emily created the Nike Run Club Challenge which has lead to over 200 people in the Nashville taking on healthier lifestyles.
“During the shutdown, 6RUN5 put together run challenges to continue to get people outside and running again,” Emily said. “We started a 6-mile-a-week challenge to commit our social media followers to running or walking 1-mile a day.”
6RUN5 also has a number of training and group run opportunities in the area. “Before the shelter in place orders started, we were training as a group for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. We will start back training in the fall which we’re excited about for our runners who will be completing their first half marathon. We also plan to add another day out of the week to our current run schedule which will have us at three meet-ups each week. We will be making this announcement in August.