Monique Nieves co founder Yamecahs

Photo by George Grullon

There’s nothing like New York City running and it’s run community, to be honest and I may sound bias it’s quite simply the best if not one of the best. The city is loaded with so much culture and diversity it’s what sets it apart and makes it so unique to the running culture. Here’s the thing, when most folks run the races which are great but it doesn’t really show what the true running community is. It doesn’t show the true diverse community of each borough, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Harlem/Uptown (if you’re from NYC you’ll understand why I mentioned Harlem and uptown), and Staten Island (you’ll also understand why I mentioned Staten Island last, lol. Monique Nieves co-founded Yamecahs, content creator and owner of Ri Mucaro. It’s Women’s history month and this month we’re all about spotlighting the women in our community creating the change that’s necessary to change the narrative. Let’s get to know Monique.

MSM: Whew that was a lot, you definitely have a lot going on which we’ll get to but for simplicity let’s get a little intro into Monique Nieves. We all start somewhere, for you what was your beginning, the question I like to ask is how did you find running or how did running find you?

Monique: I’m chuckling as I write this response because my mom witnessed me running as a 9-month-old baby, running were my first steps. It was no surprise that I ended up in cross country as a little girl. Ran for a cross country team called the Forest Park Rangers and we trained in Forest Park in Queens. Trails were my sweet spot and still is. Going to meets and doing indoor track events helped to prepare me to make it to the cross-country Junior Olympics in Saratoga, NY. Although, I didn’t qualify. It was a great accomplishment to say at such a young age that I had made it that far.

My running paused for most of adolescence, then continued in college. I went to Johnson & Wales Providence Campus. Joined the cross-country team where I also became the captain and the year during that year our team won the GNAC championships. So humbled and proud of US! 

MSM: Give our readers a peek into some of your run history, what are some of the past races that have been your favs, being from New York I’m sure there’s a few in the city that stand out.

Monique Nieves Photo by George Grullon

Monique: some of my past races that have been my favs have been the obvious New York City Marathon which was my first marathon in 2017. My second favorite of all time is the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC. (I know this isn’t a NYC race, but if you ever had the opportunity to experience that race, you would understand why it’s my second favorite). My 3rd favorite is the Brooklyn Half, as a proud Nuyorican Brooklynite; there is something super special and empowering about running your borough. 

MSM: When I started running a while back one of my struggles was finding folks that looked like me. Years later it was simply me not knowing where to look. What were those early days of running like for you?

Monique: My early days of running were challenging because I barely saw people that looked like me as well. Even when running in college it was very rare to run or train with people that looked like me. I’m so happy and proud my cross-country coaches in life are people of color! 

MSM: Finding that running family can change so many things and open up so many doors for us, especially those in the diverse community. What was it like for your when you found that running team, that community?

Monique: Infinitely grateful to my best friend Hector that connected me to Power Malu (coach of the BRidgerunners) which in turn invited to Saturday Run group lead by Jessie Zapo and himself. Which led to an automatic Expect the Unexpected Wednesday with my run family the Infamous BRidgerunners!!  Were we are always bridging the gaps and are always living our best adventures running the city streets in packs zipping in and out of traffic.  Playing in traffic is my favorite adrenaline rush, as I push through my best farlek paces as I try to keep up with the main pack!

MSM: We run to inspire, to show our communities that running is indeed for everyone and there’s an Avenue for all of us to have and see what proper representation looks like. I see you’ve linked up with the one and only Mike, Power and the Bridgerunner crew, to name a few. Who are some of the folks that have inspired you over the years? 

Monique: #BTG4LIFE  has inspired me! Being connected to an amazing running network that Mike Saes and Daddy Dark have created has been UBER inspiring! There is no limit to our global community and it’s an honor to be a part of it.  However, just to name some of the folks that inspired me over the years: Hector Davis, Power Malu, Jessie Zapo, Mike Saes, Cedric Hernandez, Kim Rodrigues, Cheryl Donald, George Grullon, Liz Rock, Abeo, Francis (Trailblazhers), Verna Volker, Dirk Whitebreast, Harold Bennally and Alison Black

MSM: One of the cool things about you is that you make sure inclusion and diversity are always at the forefront, ESPECIALLY when it comes to women in the community. You’re one of the co-founders of Yamecahs run club and I saw a line that really resonated with me. 

“On A Vibe Caused Quest to Always

Acknowledge & Honor Indigenous Native

People in EVERYTHING we do Globally and locally”.

A few things here.

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