5 Miles with Emmelio

The diverse run community and our run culture can be located all over the globe. What we try to do here at Mid Strike Magazine is to bring all of our stories to the forefront by telling our stories that oftentimes remain untold. In this issue, our international spotlight runner comes from Accra Ghana Emilio who most of you know by his Instagram 5 Miles with Emmelio.

MSM: Welcome to Mid Strike and thank you for letting us share your journey. For our readers what led you into your fitness journey?

Emmelio: I was in New York four years ago staying at the Marriott Hotel in Manhattan. I was walking around looking at the facilities of the hotel after checking in and I happened to walk into the gym. They had fresh fruit and I hadn’t eaten so I was looking at the fruit with every intention of eating them.  However, I didn’t feel comfortable just grabbing the fruit as I had just walked into the gym.  I walked out and went back to my room, put on some shorts, a T-shirt and trainers then went back.  I thought to myself, “Let me just do a short jog on the treadmill and then eat the fruit”. I didn’t even run for 5 minutes before I was out of breath.  An older gentleman was on the treadmill next to me and when I looked over at his screen, it said 57 minutes.  The shocking thing was that he was still going with no sign of fatigue and he was twice my age.  At that moment, I knew something had to change.  This was the start of my new fitness regime.  I went to the gym every morning while I stayed at the hotel and when I got back to London, I signed up for a gym membership.

MSM: Running for you seems to come to you very easily. Was running something you’ve always been interested in, or something that you’ve done in your past?

Emmelio: Running wasn’t something that I was interested in but I used to sprint at secondary school.  After I left school, I didn’t run again.  Furthermore, I started driving at a very young age so I hardly walked, far less ran. When I walked, I would feel like my whole body was itching me and running was unbearable. I spoke to a friend who also used to run and they said they had the same problem.  They told me to rub Vaseline on my body and keep running because the itchy feeling would go away gradually. I did and I have never stopped running since. I no longer need to use Vaseline because I don’t get that itchy feeling anymore. I’m scared that the itchy feeling will come back so I don’t stop running. 

MSM: For our readers take us through some of your run journeys. Tell us about some races you’ve run along with places your run journey has taken you.

Emmelio: I only used to run on the treadmill but another friend, whom attended a weekly event called “Park Run”, told me that she ran a 5km course in the park on a Saturday morning.  She invited me to attend and I did.  This was my first 5km run outside and I loved it so I stopped running on the treadmill and started running outside.  I discovered various other organized runs such as Adidas City Run, Asics 10km, Hackney Half, and the Vitality Half.  I signed up for them and received a medal every time I completed a run so I kept going.  Whenever I travel I’ve been able to run in beautiful places like Barbados, St. Lucia, Dubai, Portugal, Amsterdam, quite a few states in America, and a number of places in Europe.  However, the pièce de résistance is obviously my beloved Ghana!  I also take part in a virtual run called “Run at Your Pace” where I enter the number of miles that I will run during the month.  Once I complete the desired miles, I send the organization the evidence of my runs and you receive a medal.  Additionally, I’m also in a Nike Run group and the members run between 100-150km a month which keeps me motivated. 

MSM: As runners along with folks that workout sometimes we have a tendency to not focus on a proper diet or nutrition as the success in the gym physically comes from the diet and what we put in. You seem pretty adamant about your diet. Take us through some of your nutrition and what you do to fuel, workout, and recover properly.

Emmelio is very intent on paying attention to what he eats as he keeps a very well-balanced, healthy diet consisting of no red meat or land animals. This journey for Emmelio began 4 years ago and he has never looked back as pescatarian life has been working well. He treats his body as a temple which is something we should all pay attention to and focus on. Along with keeping track of his solid foods only putting healthy food in, hydration is just as important as he doesn’t drink any fizzy or sugary drinks while also drinking an abundance of water. His go-to is what he has dubbed “The Green Machine” which consists of Kale, Lettuce, Avocado Pear, Cucumber, Ginger, Lime, Marina Powder, Chia Seeds, and Apple Cider Vinegar everything a healthy body needs in order to recover properly.

Having a super nutritious diet also enables Emmelio to not only stay consistent as a runner but also in the gym focusing on lots of core workouts and taking time while recovery focusing on treatments such as cupping, massage, and acupuncture which has all kept him relatively healthy and avoiding injuries.

MSM: I love talking to runners that are from Africa since Africa is sacred for the Black community. Every person of color should take a trip to the homeland at some point. What I love about talking to fellow runners from Africa is that you are all able to paint a picture as a runner for our readers. One thing we all struggle with here in the states is at times struggling to find runners that look like us. Running in Ghana I’m sure you’re able to find runners that look like us while also running through neighborhoods inspiring others by all the miles you’re putting in. How does it feel to be an inspiration?

Emmelio: It makes me feel great to see people like me on the road.  It gives me joy to see people like me running because it’s not common.  I love to encourage people to run.  When I did the Hackney Half, there were at least 20 thousand people running and less than 1% of those people looked like me.  It’s nice to know that I’m making a difference.  If one person decides to get fit and then inspires someone else, that’s two people that are becoming healthy.  That’s a fantastic thing! 

MSM: What is the run scene like in Ghana? Is there an abundance of run crews in the area where crews can meet up to get miles in together?

Emmelio: There are actually a lot of people that run in Ghana but they run really early in the morning. There are many spots that run crews can meet up to run and many are spread across Accra especially on weekends to run together.  What I used to do was pick a different place every weekend to run one of those spots was Aburi Mountain which is a half-hour outside of Accra.  It is 11km of hills but it’s an amazing place to run.  Some people bring their drums and sing on the run and others bring their speakers to listen to music and It’s an awesome atmosphere to be around.  The organized road race culture in Ghana is significantly smaller than in England.  However, there are two main road races that happen once a year; the Accra Marathon and Milo Marathon.  These marathons are both full marathons (26.2 miles/42.2km) and are both in Accra.  I wouldn’t have to travel far to participate in them but I’ve never done them before.  That’s one of my goals. I’d also love to do the New York, Paris, Berlin, and London Marathons.  However, I will be doing the London marathon virtually this year (2021). 

MSM: You also host an abundance of Instagram Lives where you chat with various guests regarding topics on health, wellness, and fitness. For our readers tell us about a few of your previous guests and some other topics you focus on while hosting your Instagram Live.

Emmelio: There have been so many interesting guests on my Instagram live show which focuses on a range of topics. My friend Harm Kay was my first guest as he was one of the first people whom inspired me to get fit.  I had the concept for the “5 Miles with Emmelio” live show but I was really nervous. After speaking with Harm he gave me some fantastic tips because he’s a veteran on speaking live. I also interviewed Dr. Nelson Manzanza who is a neurosurgeon.  We discussed how fitness affects brain activity and what types of food can help to keep our brains healthy.  I wanted to show that fitness is not only about losing weight or building muscle mass but taking care of our whole being. 

Additionally, I interviewed Ayshen Gazovali (@miss_qi_therapy), a massage therapist, as mentioned above you asked how I recover and this is one of my preferred recovery regimes along with rest which is an important part of staying healthy. I don’t only focus on fitness but I delve into the diet as well because we all know that most of the results we see in our bodies start in the kitchen. I had to show everyone that if we don’t stay fit and healthy, there are many ailments that will befall us.  One such disease is diabetes, which a lot of our community suffers from.  This is why I spoke to Toyosi Bello who explained what diabetes is, how many types exist, and what it does to the body.  We also spoke about how to reverse the disease if we get it. 

MSM: For our readers looking to travel to Accra Ghana what are some areas you could recommend for runners visiting the area?

Emmelio: There are some lovely places to visit in Ghana to run like Labone, Osu, Cantoment, and Airport Residential.  These places are good areas to run during the week.  Good places for runners to visit on the weekends are McCarthy Hill, Legon University Campas, and Aburi Mountains. The beach is also a beautiful place to run. 

MSM: What’s on the horizon for Emilio. What can our readers look out for?

Emmelio: There are a lot of runners in Ghana but they are not organized.  I’d like to introduce the 5km Park Run, 10km run, and half marathons to Ghana so that people can have more events to take part in.  This will help people who find it difficult to run or can’t run a full marathon to still take part in something substantial and feel a sense of achievement. 

MSM: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Emmelio: 3 years ago, I couldn’t run for 5 minutes straight without running out of breath, but now, I can run for 5 hours without stopping.  I say this to show that consistency is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Hard work and dedication pay off!  It all depends on how badly you want to be fit.  You just need to get out, run, walk or crawl, but just be active.  One thing I always say to people is that you shouldn’t wait for your doctor to tell you to work out because by then, it might be too late. 

So!  Let’s go!  Light Work!

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