“There’s men out there that want to go running and they’re embarrassed. Because they don’t look like what a “runner” looks like,” says Manny “Bodega” Rodriguez, founder of the Pansa Boyz.
A group of four first-generation Latin American men born and raised in New York, the Pansa Boyz were brought together by their mutual desire to move and run – and to shut down the stigma that you need to look a certain type of way to be accepted as a runner.
“Men also feel body shaming around the way we look and the way we’re shaped. We’re just trying to put some positivity into the world for people of any shape, size, form. Just because we’re big doesn’t mean we’re unhealthy,” they explain.
“If I’m running alongside someone that looks like me, feels like me, knows what I’m going through every single day. There’s a comfort in knowing we’re gonna get this done together,” they emphasize. For this crew, it’s not about the mileage or breaking PRs, it’s about showing up for yourself every single day.
“Pansa Boyz are my friends,” Manny adds. “We’re all black and brown. We’re all people of color. We’re all people from New York City. Our goal for Pansa Boyz is to raise awareness for men that it’s okay to look like us. You don’t have to look a certain way. That’s the biggest message we want to get across — by just running and talking about it.”