Run Streaking with Alvin Taliaferro, Jr.
On March 1st 2020 Black Men Run NJ chapter member Alvin Taliaferro Jr embarked on a new journey taking him through 3 seasons and more than half the year. He passed his 200th day on September 15, 2020 and is still pushing on this current run streak. At the time of publication the streak sits at 247 days. Alvin has remained consistent and has continued to rack up the miles. This month’s run streak takes us to BMR south NJ chapter as we discuss Alvin’s current run streak.
MSM: Everyone has their why when it comes to run streaks. When you started yours on March 1st 2020 what were your thoughts? Did you feel you would go well over 200 days. What was your why?
Alvin: Well I really just planned to do a 30 day run streak as a way to just start running more to get in better shape for the late Spring/Summer 2020 racing season. I had not been running competitively and I was ready to get back out there and start racing again. And as we all know, during the month of March 2020, the country shut down and we were all at home for many, many days and now months. I extended my run streak as a way to break up the monotony in my pandemic life. Running every day (with a mask on) allowed me to get fresh air and keep my body active. And it just got routine for me to keep running.
MSM: Running down in Atlantic city in the winter/early spring i’m pretty sure has its moments when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate, but I also know as a fellow Black Men Run member there is a saying “ANY WEATHER WE GO”. Has there been days where you had second thoughts on suiting up? Especially on those bone chilling ocean breezy days?
Alvin: There were many days where I considered staying inside my nice warm house! Especially in March and April. I’ve run in hail storms, frigid temps, thunderstorms, wind storms and extreme heat. After a while I just went out each day with the mindset that no weather and nobody will deter me from getting it in! ANY WEATHER WE GO!!
MSM: During this run streak what has been the hardest challenge continuing to keep such a long run streak alive? Life can throw so many curve balls at us at any given time. Have you been able to adjust on such days?
Alvin: This run streak was much, much easier when we were all on lockdown due to Covid-19. Once we were allowed to move around and my business increased, it was very difficult to schedule a run in. It takes a bit more planning of my day and depending on my schedule, I now do a morning run or an evening run. I like that the Atlantic City Boardwalk never closes. And no disrespect to you treadmill lovers, but that’s imitation running to me. The ground just doesn’t move under your feet when you’re outside like a treadmill does. Just sayin’.
MSM: With such a run streak comes a tremendous amount of accountability for yourself. I am sure the BMR AC chapter is a group of guys that keep you on track and focused. For our readers who are some of the NJ members that help you to stay on track?
Alvin: My Black Men Run South Jersey Chapter members and my neighboring Brothers have really, really shown me a lot of love and support! BMR members recently did a 30 run streak in support of my streak. And it was amazing to see these Brothers go out everyday and post it on social media and I know they have crazy schedules just like me! So if I can, I’d like to give a Shout Out to: Captains Tony Sample and Alan Noel, Steve Sample, Steve Harper, Phil Hill, Lito, Delmar, Josh, and I’m sure there were BMR members supporting me that I didn’t even know. The community has really stepped up to their support. If I didn’t mention your name, blame it on my brain, not my heart.
MSM: Covid running has been different for all of us as it’s been somewhat a blessing and a curse. A blessing for some of us as it gives our bodies time to heal with no races but also a curse as it can also take us into a lull. What races were on your radar prior to covid? Post Covid if we were to ever get back to normal what races would you like to do?
Alvin: I was registered to run the Somers Point 10 Miler, the Percy Sutton 5k in Harlem, the AC Half Marathon, and the Philly Broad Street Run. And I plan to run those races next year and possibly more, if they are open next year in 2021.
MSM: What’s your preparation like prior to starting your run.
Alvin: I always say a prayer when I leave the house, as we now know it’s not even safe for US to run through neighborhoods. I also do 25 pushups and stretch at the end of every run. I always run with a hat on and sunglasses (unless it’s dark out) and I never, ever run with my phone. My BMR guys don’t like that, lol.
MSM: Personally, what has this run streak meant to you?
Alvin: This streak has really shown how disciplined I can be if I set my mind on a task. I have almost 250 consecutive days of No Excuses! And that’s pretty awesome to me. Also, my streak has inspired others to get off of the couch and get moving.
MSM: To run over 200 days is a feat. I always love to compare because literally between myself and these run streaks there’s no comparison. My longest streak is still 6 days. Personally I struggle with seeing the same route over and over. What have you been doing to keep your routes fresh? Have you been finding new routes or sticking with the current routes?
Alvin: A six day run streak is more days than most of us do, so don’t diminish that. Most of my runs are done on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, near my home. The Boardwalk is great because there are always people walking, biking, running and even skating. AC is a 24 hour tourist town so there is always someone on the boardwalk and music is always playing and the sand and ocean never, ever gets boring to me. I like to use the Bikers as my pace bikes and I always see a familiar face up there. My other run route is in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. I love running through and around that beautiful park.
MSM: How far do you see this streak going? It feels like anything over 100 days you start to second guess taking a day off. Is there a specific number that you would like to get to?
Alvin: I feel now that I want to push for one year and one day or 366 Days! The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a very, very cold snowy winter! I am up for the challenge though. Bring it on Mother Nature, bring it on!
MSM: Do you feel this run streak in essence has you prepared for the 2021 run season?
Alvin: Yes! I am ready for the 2021 Season and can’t wait! When I started this streak in March I weighed in at 163 LBS. I now weigh 148, but my body is tight and I don’t feel sluggish and I’m probably in better shape than when I ran at Stockton University almost 35 years ago and I just turned 56 in August.
MSM: Take us through some of your inspirations that’s been keeping you going on this run streak.
Alvin: Well it really warms my heart when my two college aged kids cheer me on and brag about me to their friends. Also, I post on social media regularly and the supportive comments and encouragement really helps to keep me going. I could not do this without the support of my family and friends. They keep me moving.
MSM: What’s on the horizon for Alvin Taliaferro?
Alvin: I currently own and operate a General Contracting firm based in Atlantic City and the pandemic has forced us to do business a bit differently. I’m now moving into building and acquiring affordable housing developments in New Jersey, New York and California. I also run the Atlantic City Fuller Center for Housing. This organization is similar to Habitat For Humanity. I wanna provide great houses for families that have tried all the other traditional ways to homeownership but could not make the ‘American Dream’ happen. I wanna be that bridge for them.
MSM: How did you start this business and what made you get into this career. How do you plan on being this bridge, and could you give us some examples of families you may have helped?
Alvin: I started my career in construction in 1997 when I joined the Vision 2000 Community Reinvestment Development Corporation (CDC). While with Vision 2000, I served as the Executive Director and we provided affordable Housing options for Low to Moderate income residents of Atlantic City, NJ. We received funding through grants and loans and had tremendous support from the City of Atlantic City and the Casino Reinvestment Authority (CRDA). In this role, I built low income housing for AC Senior Citizens and ran a program that provided down payment and closing costs for First Time Homebuyers. The program blessed many, many people. Additionally, I have built affordable living units and renovated hundreds of dwellings throughout Atlantic City, New Jersey. During Hurricane Sandy, I was responsible for renovating and restoring almost 2,000 homes in Atlantic City using donated funding from the Robin Hood Foundation, The Red Cross, Catholic Charities and many other private donors from around the country. I also run the Atlantic City Fuller Center for Housing
MSM: What are some of your responsibilities within this program?
Alvin: I am the Executive Director of the Fuller Center For Housing. In this role I manage the committees of site selection, family selection, construction, mortgages, volunteers, grant writing and fundraising and overall operations.
MSM: How can our readers follow this process, any websites, social media? Also could folks donate in any way or form?
Alvin: I can be contacted via my cellular at (626)437-7718 or via email at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please go to www.fullercenter.org and you can get plugged into our Atlantic City network. There is also a way to donate through our website as well. And we are always, always looking for volunteers.
MSM: Any last words for our readers that are interested in starting a run streak?
Alvin: Yes! If you wanna do a streak, I suggest you mentally prepare and explain to your closest people, what you plan to do. You need their buy in. And make sure you have plenty of running gear. Stinky laundry adds up fast. And don’t get discouraged out there. There will be many days that you will NOT want to run. You need to work, or eat, or travel, or meet, or sleep or just stay in bed. Shake it off and as my cousin Spencer says…SUFFOCATE YOUR EXCUSES! Get moving y’all!