“I started to wonder decades later if running for me was the first time that I had ever had facts ascribed to my name. And I wonder if being lied about and called racial epithets from a young age and to know from age 4 or 5 that I’m living in a society that speaks of you in a way that you know is not accurate and you know is not who yourself to be. And so for an entire lifetime of people lying to you and lying about you, saying you did something that you didn’t do, saying that you were someplace that you weren’t, somebody saying or assuming you would do something or had done something that had never even entered your mind. I think running, and getting times, for the first time, for me, as a teenager, was the first time that I ever had experience with facts, you know what I mean? You can’t lie about your time. You can’t lie about your race. It’s there in the newspaper, in the results section, and I think that that experience was so intoxicating to me, that like, you could call me whatever you want, and you could say all these racist stereotypes about black people you want, but you can’t never say that Knox Robinson didn’t run 9:41 on a Tuesday night.”
Knox Robinson is a returning guest to the show. He first appeared back on Episode 12, which was recorded Boston Marathon weekend in 2018. He was also the first person I interviewed for the morning shakeout’s Going Long series almost four years ago.
In addition to being a friend of mine, Knox is a writer, coach, and athlete who is now based in Los Angeles. Prior to that he spent years in New York City, where he co-founded the Black Roses NYC running crew. Knox ran collegiately at Wake Forest before stepping away from the sport for the better part of a decade to work in the music industry. He managed the careers of various artists, and also served as the editor-in-chief of the Fader, a magazine dedicated to covering hip hop and indie music, style and culture.
We recorded this conversation back in late July but I’ve held onto for a couple of reasons: 1. Knox was a guest on a lot of other podcasts this past summer and I didn’t want this one to get lost in the shuffle; and 2. This was at times, quite frankly, an uncomfortable exchange as we discussed difficult topics like running while black, race in America, the role of the media in all of that, and more. But I’m sharing it here today in its entirety because it had a profound impact on me and I hope it will do the same for you. We got into Knox’s roots and his background as a runner and a storyteller, his writing practice and what it looks like, and the idea of running as a sort of leveling agent. We also discussed his recent move to LA and what he hopes to achieve there, setting up a high altitude retreat in the mountains of Mexico, and a lot more.
Knox Robinson: Instagram
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Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.
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