We were thrilled to introduce the recipients to our 2024 Everyone Runs Fund this past week: Mauricio Zuniga, Candace Gale, and Mensah Bey.

Our Everyone Runs Fund program helps underrepresented runners achieve their run goals by providing financial and in-kind assistance. This is our second year doing this program and — with thanks to our sponsor Hoka — we were able to award stipends to three runners this year (in our inaugural year, we awarded two stipends).

This week, we’re shining lights on our recipients: what got them into running, what race they chose to run for this program, and what keeps them motivated to move. Next up is Mensah Bey.

RPL: What event are you doing and why did you choose this event?

Mensah: This summer I’ll be participating in the Mt. Rainier Half Marathon in Ashford, WA. This was chosen to be the location of our Black Men Run West Regional meet up where a number of brothers will also be participating. I feel this will be an opportunity for me to be a trailblazer for my community, fellowship with brothers, and find inspiration in a new landscape. Additionally, Black Men Run is beginning an initiative called Black Men Run TURF (Trail & Ultra Running Fanatics) to increase representation in trail running and I see it as my duty to be an example of it.

RPL: How did you get into running?

Mensah: I began running at an early age competing in AAU with my siblings. Over the years it would creep back into my life, often motivated by challenges and competition. In 2021 I joined Black Men Run’s San Diego Chapter and fell in love with the accountability and fellowship. Since moving to California, running has become a true part of my identity and well being. Now I run for clarity, curiosity, and adventure. I do still love fast times, though!

We can’t wait to follow Mensah’s on his journey toward Mt. Rainier Half Marathon. If you’re interested in learning more about our Everyone Runs Fund, you can see that page here. We’ll be updating that site soon with more information about the applications to our 2025 ERF Program.