Well into her 30s, Tiffany Gayle Chenault didn’t have any interest in running, even when she said yes to a friend who asked her to run a 5-mile event near her home in Boston, Massachusetts. But during that run, she felt something, a renewed sense of being alive that had gone quiet since the passing of her mother a few years earlier.
That aliveness led to a whole new path for Chenault, whose professional life is as a professor of sociology at Salem State University. As Chenault began her running journey, she also developed a curiosity about the lack of diversity in the sport, especially the absence of other Black women runners.
This led to Tiffany setting out on a running challenge and research project of completing a half-marathon in each one of the 50 states. Her approach and interest is both academic and personal: she’s assessing the project through the dual lens of being a Black woman runner herself and also as a sociologist focused on the intersection of race, gender, and class. Tiffany has been chronicling her journey on her blog RunISee50. Once Chenault finishes her project in 2023, by completing a half-marathon in her 50th state, Hawaii, she’ll turn her findings into a book.
Tiffany has come to define her own space in the running community, and she’s working to help other women do the same. She is the co-ambassador for the Boston chapter of Black Girls Run, and she a member of the Boston Running Collaborative, which the Boston Athletic Association created to strengthen its focus on increasing diversity and access to the running community in the Boston area. Tiffany also recently modeled for REI and was featured in their catalog. As part of that campaign, there was an accompanying article that featured her titled “What a Runner Looks Like.”
Ways to keep up with Tiffany
Her blog: RunISee50.com