KNOW YOUR RUN HISTORY: Joe Yancey – The Pioneer 

written by Curtis Caesar John

Black American running history has many heroes, some of which we’ve covered here at Mid Strike. One undebatable figure on the Mount Rushmore of these heroes is Mr. Joseph “Joe” Yancey Jr., co-founder and coach of the legendary New York Pioneer Club (NYPC).   

Created in 1936, the NYPC was the first of its kind: an integrated team during the time of Jim Crow racial segregation and more muted but still hard felt segregation throughout the United States, buffeted by the rise of fascism in Europe. Through the guidance of Yancey and his fellow founders and coaches the NYPC intentionally practiced civil rights through athletics, created and nurtured numerous Olympic athletes, set worldwide sprinting and long-distance running records from 100 yards to the marathon, and created a culture that inspired the founding of the long-standing Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and the New York Road Runners (NYRR).

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