SEKO FRANCIS “Running Rasta” Runner’s Profile

Name:  Seko Francis

Home State:  VA but originally from St. Kitts/Nevis

When did you start running?

Growing up in the Caribbean running has always a part of my life. My Uncles Austin and Grantley were runners.  Uncle Grantley was a sprinter.  Austin would take me on his daily runs which were early mornings before my school classes started.  On Saturdays we would run up to 10 miles.  My Grandfather also would take me to the beach on Sunday’s and we would race on the sand.  I also ran in school.

Being an Infantryman, in the military, meant lots of running and road marches. After getting out of the Army, I swore I was done with running and that lasted a few years.  I started running again close to my 40th birthday.  I went for a 40-mile painful run on my birthday and have been running daily ever since.  I have not missed a single day of running in those years. I will be 51 this Sept.

VA Beach R&R 1/2 First in Age Group

Why do you run now? What motivates you?

I continue to run to stay healthy.  I also use running to encourage others to take charge of their bodies and their health.  Running is a cheap and easy way to get fit and stay fit.

Longest race: My longest race is a 24 hour run. I have been participating in this race for about ten years now.  I have reached the One-Hundred-mile mark on two occasions.

Hardest course: I don’t think any of the courses I have run are hard.  I may be exhausted or something but I never really consider a course hard.

Hardest race for you: A hard race to me comes down to my training.  I try not to go into races unless I am prepared.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it):

My favorite races are the ones I help to put together.  The 1 Mile with A Smile Race series where we have races from 1 mile upward.

Favorite course (same): Currently I am loving Oak Grove Park in Chesapeake VA where we just had our 12 Hour Endurance Race.  This is a very scenic 1.5-mile loop around a gorgeous body of water.

What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

Marathons are my least favorites.  Most times they get really crowded.  I like smaller crowds. My favorite is 1 MILE…When I decided to get back to running after years of sitting around smoking cigarettes, my first run was 1 mile and it did me in.  I swore never to let that happen again.  That 1 mile made me smile.

Can you explain the Ital diet, and why it’s important to you?

I grew up in a small village with access to the Rastafarians.  They have a saying which says Ital is Vital.  In other words, only eat the foods that are vital to life and good health.  This led to a strict lifestyle of not eating animal products or salt and alcohol.  I eat lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables.  I also make juices and smoothies which all fall in line with eating ITAL.

PR   5k / 10k / half / full / 50k / 50 Mile / 100 mile / more?

5K 18:21:33
10K 39:55:33
½ Marathon 1:25:28
Marathon 3:24:21
I have passed the 100-mile mark on 2 occasions at a 24 hour run.

No matter where I see you, you are smiling, and those around you are smiling – mostly because of you.  Where do you get the endless motivation?

That comes from the people around me.  They bring out my smiles.  I like to laugh and joke around.  Smiling is just the face of deep laughter and joy.  When I see a person, I see me.  I always smile at me.

I know music is also a big part of your life… can you tell us a bit about the DJ, the music you love, and the people involved?

I love all genres of music.  Growing up in St. Kitts in the 70’s and 80’s we heard it all on radio.  I once hosted a four-hour show called The Reggae Extravaganza at Hampton University.  Recently I have been asked to do a two hour show at Norfolk State.  The show is called Caribbean Gold and I will be playing the golden nuggets of Caribbean Music. That includes genres such as Calypso, Reggae, Soca, Dancehall and music from the French, Dutch and Spanish speaking Caribbean islands.  My new show will air on Sundays 4-6 pm.  ( Hot 91.1 online )

What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

I always wanted to run Badwater.  It seems like the perfect place to test yourself.  I have watched videos and follow some of the runners who have done it.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?  Why?

I actually don’t like wearing shoes.  I only wear shoes when I am running races.  I am thinking of using sandal in the future for races.

Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

I am a minimalist even when I am running. I have no issues with the gear but I prefer to have nothing on. Just me in my shorts and my shoes when I wear them.

What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?

I have never used Apps/GPS equipment when I am running. I am more of a naked runner (this means no equipment and not physically naked)

Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

If you ran today then you are a runner and that is all that matters. Now if you want to become competitive that takes a lot of training. It comes down to you. Get out and run. Push yourself. One foot in front of the other. The physical will be limited by the mental so tell yourself you can do it and then go out prove it to yourself. Start slowly.

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