For the last several years, Markelle Taylor has become synonymous with the San Quentin 1000 Mile Running Club. Now that he has completed the Boston Marathon, and is off to conquer the world of competitive running, it seems like a good opportunity to reflect back on his legacy at San Quentin.
Markelle was San Quentin’s finest runner during his time here, a prodigy who not only shattered all of the exist- ing distance running records, but also set high standards for the next generation of runners who will grace the Lower Yard at The Q.
As fellow 1000 Mile Club member, Rashaan Thomas said, “His training spoke to his focus. He broke records, then broke his own. He has all of the significant (records)”.
Markelle’s work ethic was second to none and fellow runners would marvel at the drive of a man who it seemed running came easy to. “Markelle worked hard and was big into doing speed work”, says fellow club member Troy Dunmore, “he would run 200 and 400 yard sprints weekly”.
Despite being the fastest and most visible member of the club, Markelle maintained his humility and used his skill to inspire others.
Close friend and competitor Chris Scull explains it in this way, “What I got from him was a higher purpose of running – my victims, my community, not just my health. He dedicated every run to a cause. It could be his victim, it could be his daughter who had lupus.”
Markelle’s legacy is a testament to the power of purpose and hard work. As the men of San Quentin watch him from afar, ensconced in the race of life in the free world, he still is an inspiration and pace setter. Thomas sums it up in this way, “Before I could run 1 mile, he would lap me twice. It was like trying to keep up with a gazelle”.
By Adamu Chan Journalism Guild Writer
Since leaving The Q, Markelle “The Gazelle” Taylor has ran in the Boston Marathon. His training regimen has changed a bit though: Taylor trains on Mt. Tam, as well as having a new diet to stay healthy for races.
“I eat a whole lot healthier now. I get to train better too,” Taylor said. “I train on Mt. Tam, but, Mt. Tam trails ain’t nothing because I had it harder in prison. My next marathon will be a whole lot faster.”
His official time was 3:03 but his watch said 2:57:12.
3:03 breaks his personal best record set at San Quentin this year, 3:10 (by 7 minutes).
He ran for charity this year which put him in the fourth heap. His results qualified him to run in the 1st wave next year.
While running Markelle said he kept thinking about the 1000 Mile Club to keep his focus.
“It was the 1000 Mile Club at San Quentin that prepared me for it. I had to run around thousands of people. I was in the fourth wave with over 32,000 people and only 300 behind me.”
Taylor, who picks a cause to run for in his races, ran for the Urban League, a group that helps people overcome social and economic barriers and violence, like women who need housing. Unofficially, he also represented the 1000 Mile Club and all lifers in prisons in California.
“You guys were with me in spirits.”
“He didn’t seem tired after the race,” said film director Christine Yoo. “He looked like he could still go.”
Coach Kevin Rumon went to the Boston marathon, where he roomed with Taylor.
“Kevin was a great help, great support,” Taylor said. “He’s a good coach . No one can replace Frank though.”
When asked about how he was adjusting overall to his mew freedom, Taylor responded “Life is moving so fast out here, I’m still taking it all in.”
—Aaron Taylor contributed to this story