Ghana goal leads to marathon in Africa

A long run in Ghana could go a long way in helping the country get healthy, aspiring marathon runner Cheryl Groce-Wright hopes.

Carson and Cheryl Groce-Wright '82“I’ve been on a mission,” 1982 SUNY Oswego graduate Groce-Wright said. “I decided to do it and I just have set my mind to it.”

That decision came in January 2009, when she was inspired by her ever-nearing 50th birthday in 2010 to start running. Groce-Wright began mixing running into her walking routine around Richmond, Va., where she lives and works as an education consultant.

“A minute became two and then five and I thought. ‘Well, maybe I can train for a race,’” she recalled. With a 10K and half marathon under her belt, Groce-Wright turned her attention to another goal – traveling to Africa.

Groce-Wright met Ghana activist Nana Kweku Egyir Gyepi III while he was on a speaking tour in 2000. His vision for creating a Mecca for African natives and descendents in Ghana has intrigued Groce-Wright ever since.

She used her newfound love of running to finally make the trip to Ghana. Groce-Wright plans to complete the Accra International Marathon Sept. 26, which happens to be one week before her 50th birthday.

Of course, she’ll be running for more than herself. Groce-Wright hopes to raise more than $5,000 for the Longevity Project, a program combating Ghana’s short life expectancy with health initiatives and education.

The former Black Student Union member and African-American studies minor built a lifelong base for activism while a student studying communications at Oswego.

“I think that was the beginning and sort of awakening for me,” Groce-Wright said of her time at Oswego with professors emeriti like Dr. Kenneth Hall and Dr. Alfred Young.

Her newly launched consulting service, Kaleidoscope Collaborative, focuses on interweaving diversity into education. Inspired by her own success, Groce-Wright would like to someday work as a personal trainer.

“I really have been so empowered by running and I feel that I can empower other people,” she said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: ‘On a mission’ – Cheryl Groce-Wright, a 1982 alumna of SUNY Oswego, will run the International Marathon Sept. 26 in Ghana to benefit the Longevity Project. She is pictured here after a recent race with son, Carson.

(Posted: Sep 20, 2010)

Tags: alumni