Markelle Taylor is a prominent member of the San Quentin 1000 Mile Running Club
Background of the 1000 Mile Running Club
Franklin Ruona is the Head Coach of the San Quentin 1000 Mile Running Club
The San Quentin 1000 Mile Running Club was established in 2005 with two main objectives:
1. To encourage and help each member through walking or running in order to maintain to a certain level of physical fitness.
2. To initiate and assist each member in setting obtainable goals of distance by taking each mile one step at a time.
During the first 3 years of the Club's existence we staged a 3 Mile Race, a Track Meet, and a 2 Hour Run and did very little competitive racing.
In 2008, Ronnie Goodman, the fastest runner in the Club at the time, told Coach Ruona that he was doing 20 mile training runs on the weekends and he wanted to know if Coach Ruona thought that he could finish a Marathon. Coach Ruona told him he thought that he could and we scheduled its First San Quentin Marathon for Labor Day, 9/1/2008. We had 16 starters and one finisher, Ronnie Goodman!
In 2009 the we staged our Second Annual San Quentin Marathon on Memorial Day, 5/25/2009. They had 23 starters and, again, only one finisher, Ronnie Goodman.
Since that time the San Quentin 1000 Mile Running Club has evolved considerably. We now have 10 Races annually, starting with a 3 Mile Race in February and concluding with a Full 26.2 Mile Marathon in November. We currently have 80 inmates and 9 Coaches and Volunteers who participate in our program. Several of the inmates have injuries or medical conditions that prevent them from running, but they are able to walk and volunteer at Club races and they are considered valuable members of the Club.
In 2018 our 12th Annual Marathon was scheduled to be run on 11/16/18, but unhealthy air conditions emanating from the tragic Camp Fire in Butte County caused the postponement of the Marathon until 12/14/18. The week prior to the reschduled Marathon Date two inmates on Death Row died of apparent drug overdoses, the Prison was put on a Lockdown for 2 weeks and the Marathon had to be postponed again until 1/11/19. As a result of these two issues, the inmates in the Club were unable to train on a regular basis and were unable to do any training at all for about 4 weeks while they were confined to their cells.
When we ran the 12th Annual Marathon on 1/11/19, expectations were low. We had 29 starters in the Marathon, about 10 less than we had anticipated, but, amazingly, we had 23 inmates finish the marathon. That was 10 more than the 13 finishers in the 11th Annual Marathon in November of 2017 and set a new record for the Club. We also had a new fastest time for the Marathon set by Markelle Taylor at 3:10:42 and we had our first 70 year old finisher, as Micheal Keeyes, at age 71, ran 4:50:47 .
San Quentin State Prison has evolved over recent years to a facility that has many, many programs to provide the inmates with opportunities to Rehabilitate themselves so that when they are released from prison they are able to live good, healthy and productive lives and become an asset to their communities. We feel that the San Quentin 1000 Mile Running Club is one of those programs, as we try to use running to improve the health, fitness and attitudes of the inmates in the Club. The inmates in our Club learn to set goals and achieve those goals; to work together as training partners; to be part of a team; and to encourage and support their fellow inmates to be better runners and better teammates.
We have seen many of our ex-Club members be released from prison in the past couple of years and are happy to report that almost all of them are doing quite well on the outside.
One of our former Club members who is living in Southern California is training to run the Los Angeles Marathon on March 24, 2019. Several of our ex-members have competed in the Marin County Dipsea Race and other local running events.
Background on Markelle Taylor
Markelle Taylor, currently the fastest runner in the Club, is scheduled to be paroled in about one month and he is set to represent the San Quentin 1000 Mile Club at the 2019 Boston Marathon on April 15, 2019. Markelle is excited to have this opportunity and the other members of the Club are excited and PROUD to have Markelle representing them at such a Prestigious Event.
Markelle Taylor (46), is known as “the gazelle of San Quentin.” Markelle was found suitable for parole and will be released from San Quentin State Prison after almost 18 years in February 2019. As the fastest runner in the prison’s long distance running club, the 1000 Mile Club, Markelle has won every race since joining the club in 2015. On January 11, 2019, he completed the 12th Annual San Quentin Marathon in 03:10:42, in the process setting a new club record and qualifying for Boston.
A former track star from San Mateo High School in the Bay Area, Markelle took up running in prison to deal with the stress of preparing for his first parole hearing. Seeing how getting denied led his friend to commit suicide, Markelle was determined not to give in to dark feelings. After being denied parole twice during his 15-to-life sentence, Markelle says running saved his life.
Like many marathoners, Markelle’s dream is to run in the Boston Marathon. Understanding the meaning of second chances, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts has created a spot on their charity team for Markelle’s entry to Boston on April 15, 2019!
To Markelle, running in Boston would mean his second chance at life is real. “I thank God for letting these opportunities enter my life.”
But Markelle will need to raise a minimum of $8,500 to get to confirm his spot with the team.
Let’s make a dream come true and help Markelle help the Urban League raise these funds that will positively impact adults in Eastern MA to overcome racial and social barriers, economic inequities, sexual and domestic violence and find employment and economic development opportunities.
Let’s get Markelle to the Boston Starting Line!