Prolyfyck run crew

There's been a different vibe when it comes to running the last couple of years. Quite simply it's fun and the reason why it is fun is simply because of the crews that represent the running community. I like to think that my generation and how we grew up in general was just a vibe and most of us that experienced that and became runners have learned how to translate that into things just being cool. James Dowell and Will Jones are the founders of Prolyfyck Run Crew, that name is intense and, we’ll get to this, lol. This run crew and its founders is a vibe within itself and this month we’re getting into the story behind the crew and its founders.

MSM: Alright before we get to the intros I have to ask about the name, ProlyFyck (pronounced Prolific) Run Crew is intense creative and different. I’ve seen some interesting names over the years and this one is at the top. How did the name of this crew originate?

Will: Prolyfyck got started in the summer of 2018. Named for then-living rapper Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap lyric “I'm prolific, so gifted. I'm the type that's gon' go get it.” The group has adopted that mindset, being proactive in their approach, rather than sitting, waiting for opportunities to present themselves. We are creating our own lane.

MSM: There’s something about seeing black and brown all together focusing on health, wellness and community. Let’s chat a little bit about the crew and its inception, when did you both know that creating this run crew was something that you both wanted to do?

Will: During this time of “racial awakening,” a Black-led running crew, intentionally running through Black Charlottesville neighborhoods was a safe space for Black people in the community. White Charlottesville residents also joined the running group, seeking ways to show racial solidarity. Running in community is “a way to get through something hard with somebody.” And during 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic and racial violence, Prolyfyck became a space to get through these hard things.

MSM: Tell us a little bit about the running community in Charlottesville VA. You both formed this running crew which I know for sure visually makes a world of difference for runners to see familiar faces in the black/brown community. Prior to forming PFRC what was running in the Charlottesville area like for the both of you. For me not seeing runners that looked like myself made it a struggle to want to run. I like to ask this question to runners in other areas to get a feel and understand if the feelings are the same in other areas.

Will: Charlottesville is a very white town, and the running community here in Charlottesville is just that. We didn’t see ourselves on the streets, so taking up space for our people is with full intent.

MSM: It's been 5 years since that time and honestly, we’re still dealing with the effects of those protests and racism that will never go away. This goes back to the need to see runners that look like us simply for the fact that we can all relate to the issue that we’re all still dealing with in the black communities. How have the both of you worked to create and keep Prolyfck a safe space?

Will: Prolyfyck’s main purpose is to work for the empowerment of those who support it, especially the historically marginalized Black and Brown communities. Our goal is to continue shedding light on the impact of racism, both past and present, rejecting those who would suppress or co-opt the talent of Black and Brown people, claiming ownership over their creativity. Instead, we encourage all to look deep within themselves to find their gifts and tap into their passions, working together with a spirit of unity and love to create a world where everyone can be Prolyfyck and feel safe in the space we hold.

MSM: You both do a lot but what is it that inspires you both? What is it that keeps you both going daily, that keeps you both grinding and moving at 100 to create the change that’s needed?

Will: The power of community, the power of people coming together keeps up moving.

MSM: The thing that we tend not to discuss is a healthy mental, especially for black men in America, we must have that space to chat and reset. For busy folks like yourself how do the both of you manage to have that mindful reset, a way to get away from things mentally where you keep yourselves mentally healthy?

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