Sekou Writes

NASHVILLE, TN — In less than four months after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke, New York City resident and Nashville-bred author Sekou Writes completed his first New York City Marathon, while raising money for two different nonprofits: Transformation Life Center (that transforms the lives of youth living in underserved communities) and Back On My Feet (a national organization that fights homelessness by teaching them how to run). 

 On June 1, 2021, inspired by the Nashville Chapter of Black Men Run, Sekou began running one mile daily during his birthday month. By July 14, 2022, he had run for 409 consecutive days covering more than 1,000 miles across 12 different cities and raising over $7,000 for several non-profits that serve the unhoused. Unfortunately, on July 14, 2022, while hosting a graduation ceremony for a summer youth program at Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn., he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain). 

While hospitalized, Sekou seemed unlikely to fulfill his dream of making it to the marathon. However, daily physical, cognitive, occupational, and speech therapy, along with a determined mind and spirit, gave Sekou the confidence to accomplish his goal of completing the New York City marathon.

He was able to raise $4,000 for Back On My Feet, a national nonprofit that fights homelessness by showing them how to run. He also made an attempt to break a Guinness World Record during the marathon. He did not break the Guinness record but he raised $13,000 on the day for Transformation Life Center. Sekou was too exhausted to turn the timer off at and so it went on from there to have a life of its own. Huge shoemaker Saucony, for example, donated $1,000 to the fund independently. They also gave Sekou a brand new pair of the Black Men Run Endorphin Speed 3 just to complete running the marathon in. All in, Sékou was able to raise $15,000 for Transformation Life Center. He’s calling it the “Sekou Marathon Award” and it wrapped up in December, about one month after the marathon ended.

Demetrius Short, the founder of Transformation Life Center, was thrilled to get the huge $15,000 gift. Sekou was supposed to participate in the Steps of Success 5K for the first time and was responsible for raising money for them. Unfortunately, the stroke took him right out of the way for that. With the Sekou Marathon Award, however, Sekou definitely made up for it.

Sekou has pushed through soreness, pain, sickness, fatigue, depression, inclement weather, the pandemic, and many other obstacles to keep his run streak going. “If you told me I could do ANY of this, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Sékou about his pivot into being a charity runner. “One of the biggest lessons for me is that I’m capable of more than I ever understood.”

For more information (or to donate), please visit www.sekouwrites.com.

Sékou Writes was born in Roxbury, MA, and residing between New York City and Nashville, TN, Sékou is a Morehouse graduate who has created content over the past 25 years for a wide range of magazines, newspapers, websites and other outlets, including Essence and Uptown Magazine. In addition, he has ghost-written a NY Times bestseller, performed Off-Broadway, wrote and produced his stage play, and created the HERO clothing brand, which provides new clothes for members of the unhoused community. He also hosts the Be Your Own HERO Show on the New Thought Media Network.