It’s Ok to Run, Just Don’t Run Away

Today, while driving through my neighborhood,
I saw a boy who reminded me of me.
No, he wasn’t wearing glasses or reading poetry,
actually, on the surface, few would ever consider comparing him to me
because we shared no features

It was his activity that sent my mind back,
back to days that I sometimes thought had long past
but time’s grasp refuses to let it be so.
I was in the same spot just 4 years ago.


running with the same look of determination that I used to run with.
And for what?
I knew why he was running.

I’d often run through my neighborhood in my highschool days
as an extension of track practice (loved running those relays).
All year through rain and snow (and some sleet) I’d race,
and when things got rough (in life) I’d pick up the pace.

I became faster and faster each time and
could go longer and longer each time as
I ran in those same straight lines that
stretched as Fenkell, Lyndon, Evergreen, and Lahser.
I was “STRONG”. Yet, I was weak

My love interest at the time would massage my muscles gently,
causing me to naturally, grin and moan in ecstasy.
I felt great! And why not? After all, this running and exercising
was keeping me in shape, but in hindsight my friend,
I was trying to escape


Runnin’ far and fast over fences,
on cracked streets with uneven surfaces,


through high grass and past liquor stores,
nevermore wanting to see or remember
the buildings which house the poison that is
but one ill that is overwhelmingly
pumped into my community.


out of fear that if I did not “escape”, i too would be
consumed by the testament of classism,
by the flames of violence, injustice, and inequality.


out of fear that if I did not “escape”, I too would “fall through the cracks.”
running away from society’s description of me as being an emotionally dead, unintelligent, crime prone, STD ridden, oversexed individual who is incapable of upward mobility and taking responsibility for his actions.

I was afraid… afraid of my own
determined…determined to escape….but no longer….

Its AMAZING what a few years of good grace and guidance can do to one’s personal evolution.
Now that I’m older and wiser I realize that “escaping” is not the solution.

Too often after “educating” ourselves we leave the burden to another person,
and as we leave our homes, the condition only worsens.
Noble intentions coupled with action makes for great deeds,
but giving up on a young brother will not quell his taste for weed.

So I’ve made a choice to be a voice for those who cannot speak,
I choose to AC-CEN-TU-ATE the POSITIVE and EL-IM-IN-ATE the negative within me..
thereby inspiring others to release the heroes & heroines that exist naturally within themselves.


Now, when I run through the “hood” I have the same determination with a new state of mind.

I seek to give back, and this time my path goes full circle instead of those same straight lines. When I help my brothers and sisters, I help myself. There’s a quote which says: “success unshared is bad for one’s health”
If we HELP each other, we can all gain wealth.
If we LOVE each other, we can all gain wealth.

Sometimes life gets difficult, there’s no debating that,
But pressure makes diamonds, there’s no debating that
We’ll struggle for a while, but at the end of the day,

It’s okay to run, just don’t run away.

I wrote this in June of 2007, and after digging through some old things and giving it another read, I think it’s still relevant to my own life…a reminder of sorts. I hope it proves thought-provoking for you.

Can you relate? What are you running from? What are you running toward?

Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



Get New Notes in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to have new notes delivered to your inbox.

Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    I understand you, its so hard to decide whether a person is running away from there own battles or not, i feel like ive been fighting more of my self rather than my true enemies in the past few years, really since highschool

    Its sort of a fear of going against the grain for me, but recently, ive broken out of it, im taking my true problems head on, its not in a sense that your afraid to be different, its more like, your not afraid to be better, to accept more is expected of you and constantly fight to live up to those expectations

Share Your Thoughts: Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: