Where’s that work ethic come from? “For sure my grandmother, and I think growing up without a mom and a dad. You know, nothing was ever handed [to me], we had to work for everything. Also just seeing that’s what’s needed to survive in this world is the art of working hard. I don’t expect anything—I just want to work hard. I just take pride with having the magic in things, you know. I just want things to always go well. I know things will not always go well but I think my grandmother and growing up definitely with that chip on my shoulder and just having to work hard.”
Marquis Bowden is a 31-year-old runner based in Los Angeles and he first came on my radar several weeks ago when I saw him featured in a film from Tracksmith called Race Day is (still) Sacred. I then started hearing him pop up in my podcast feed, which then sent me down the rabbit hole and landed me on articles about him in both Tempo Journal and Runner’s World, and I just knew we had to have a conversation.
A former college basketball player who says that running found him a few years ago, Marquis has big goals in the sport. He ran a two-minute personal best of 2:39 last month for his virtual Boston Marathon, and while he has a long way to go on paper to achieve his goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials, Marquis has the tools, the drive, and the guidance to take him to some pretty incredible places.
His humble, hard-working nature, and the pride he has for his family and community, is also admirable and all of that really comes out in this conversation. We talked about his journey in the sport, how his training has evolved, and all that, but we got deeper into his story: about growing up in the inner city of Compton and Carson, California, and being raised by his grandmother because his parents were out of the picture. Marquis told me about reuniting with his dad just a few years ago and how that missing puzzle piece fit back into his life. We also talked his lack of self-belief as a kid and how he grew his confidence, his work ethic and having a chip on his shoulder, patience and playing the long game, as well as the importance of living each day with gratitude and love. We also discussed what it means to be a black male in running today, how we can increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sport, and a lot more.
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Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.
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