Know Your Crew is our ongoing series documenting the crews and groups from around the world shaping the culture of running.
The second largest borough and the most populous in NYC. Diverse and vibrant, it was originally deemed the "City of Trees" (unknown to us before researching this article, it's now nicknamed "The City of Homes and Churches"). To present day New Yorkers, Brooklyn is known as a patchwork of unique neighborhoods, with energies that shift from one block to the next.
Our first ever installment of Know Your Crew highlights TeamWRK, a group that perfectly represents a unique cross-section of BK neighborhoods.
Founded in 2016, the WRK stands for 'We Run Kings' (named after Brooklyn's King County). Meeting up for runs at the Boerum Hill institution, The Brooklyn Circus, TeamWRK's home base puts the crew at the center of 5 different neighborhoods, all within just a half of mile from their starting point. Running with TeamWRK means sampling a smorgasbord of uniquely NYC vibes with a dedicated group of humans.
We ran and spoke with co-founders Joe Shayne and Jenn Blalock to learn more.
What makes TeamWRK special?
JS: The people. The team. We're a dynamic group of individuals who are very goal-oriented in running and in life. We're Black urban professionals. I like to look at TeamWRK as a source of Black excellence. There are so many outstanding individuals across a variety of fields of work. I can see how their hard work translates into their performances while racing and training.
When you first join TeamWRK, the focus is on helping to establish specific goals for your running journey. Be prepared to be challenged though. Central to TeamWRK's mission is giving first-timers the support to experience the feeling of finishing their first marathon.
JB: My motto is to bring out the inner champion in people, and I feel the marathon does that. What I’ve seen, the emotion throughout the 26.2, I think there's nothing like it and that everyone should experience it. In that space, you don't find a lot of black and brown folk. For TeamWRK, it’s important for us to know that you belong in that space.
TeamWRK believes that training for a marathon can generate success in other aspects of people’s lives. The successes, and sometimes failures, transcend the sport itself. Members of TeamWRK range from 4-5 hour marathoners, to Boston Marathon qualifiers. All paces are welcome and encouraged.
TeamWRK's purpose in their own words:
JS: The running community in New York City is vast, but when it came to training for races and specific goals, those groups weren’t geared toward people of color. My thing was, if we’re going to be serious about this sport and dedicate a lot of our life to it, then we should have an organization that’s catering to our people.
In the Neighborhood
Time and Place
JS: "Long runs on Saturdays at 9am. Start at BK Circus, straight shot across the Brooklyn Bridge to the West Side Highway. Hit West 15th and turn around. Out and back." Peep the Strava Route.
Post-long run spots
JS & JB:
Mangoseed on Flatbush Ave, right outside the park. The best Caribbean food in the area and has been welcoming TeamWRK for years. "Get the Da Jerk Chicken Pizza."
333 also on Flatbush Ave. When a drink (or two) is in order.
The Brooklyn Circus of course. One part iconic New York City menswear store, one part TeamWRK HQ (so-to-speak). "We've been truly honored and humbled by the hospitality of Brooklyn Circus, hands down."
Last question - Why Brooklyn?
JB: It’s almost like, why not Brooklyn?
JS: It doesn't matter where you’re from, when you get to Brooklyn it’s all love.
We couldn't agree more.
TeamWRK Website and Instagram.