We are thrilled to introduce our 2024 Everyone Runs Fund recipients: Mauricio Zuniga, Candace Gale, and Mensah Bey

Our Everyone Runs Fund is a program that helps underrepresented runners achieve their run goals by providing financial and in-kind assistance. We launched this program last year, which provided funds to 2 runners — Griselda Garcia and Nicole Smith — and this year, we were able to expand and grow the program to 3 runners, thanks to our partner and sponsor, Hoka. Our vision at Runners for Public Lands is to build more inclusive running communities dedicated to protecting the environment, but we recognize that there are barriers to running for many athletes. We created our Everyone Runs Fund to reduce those barriers to entry and access.

We’ll be shining a light on each of our recipients over the next few weeks, but here is a quick look at the races our recipients are running and why:

  • Mauricio Zuniga: Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, September 2024. “Aside from the learning curve of being on trails, I have never done an outdoor activity like this outside of Northern California, let alone a different state. Some of my current favorite athletes and running bloggers have talked about this historical landmark for athletes and tourists. For years I have seen one my favorite Colorado bloggers say on his YouTube channel, ’Seek Beauty, Work Hard, and Love Each Other.’ Now I may actually see him out there! There is something about Colorado’s mountains that recently sparked my curiosity and interest.”
  • Candace Gale: Moab 240 Endurance Run, October 2024. “I chose this race to help me continue my healing journey and to represent myself and my community. I want to increase representation of Native runners in ultra endurance events. I like to volunteer at races, and there was something about the Moab 240 run that caught my eye. It was amazing and inspiring to see runners from all over the world. I decided at that moment that I wanted to run this race and to experience the beautiful landscapes. When my lottery entry was accepted, I knew there was no turning back.”
  • Mensah Bey: Mt. Rainier Half Marathon, July 2024. “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.

We can’t wait to follow each of our runners as they prepare for their upcoming races. Join us in congratulation our 2024 ERF Recipients and follow their journeys over on social at @runners4publiclands.