Marquita Francique: This NYC Runner Will Not Fail
By Dominique Burton
A true grit-and-grind type of gal who still manages to be both super-girly and graceful, Marquita “Quita” Francique is one who inspires, motivates and supports women across the running spectrum. Her ever-changing journey has never stopped her from getting these miles no matter the circumstance. In addition to being a dedicated runner and USATF-certified running coach, she is also a wife, mom, special education teacher and community activist.
Along with her husband Adam Francique, captain of the Harlem branch of Adidas Runners and co-founder of After:Miles, she inspires others to run through several running and fitness-related projects, including:
Run4AllWomen- An organization that uses running as a vehicle for social change. “We organize and conduct running events that empower women to be the change they seek,” says Quita.
The Body Prjct - A summer nonprofit organization, set out to elevate neighborhoods deprived of free fitness activations in New York.
We Run Uptown - A close-knit running crew based in uptown NYC. They meet every Monday at Coogans.
Getting to know Quita
RUNGRL co-founder Dominique Burton had a chance to chat with Quita and dig into her story, getting to the heart of what makes her so dedicated and inspiring.
Dominique: How did running start for you? Did you run track in high school or college?
Quita: I started running my freshmen year of high school. I started dancing when I was 3 years old (ballet, tap, jazz, etc.), so that was my life at the time. I ran the mile one day in my gym class for something called the Presidential Award. I ended up beating everyone in my gym class, so my gym teacher told me maybe I should go out for track and field. At my first cross country meet, I did extremely well. After that, I ran winter track and spring track. I ended up running all four years of high school and getting a track scholarship to college. I ran competitively all four years in college for Monmouth University, a Division 1 school.
D: What difference does it make to have a team or community to belong to with running?
Q: Having a team in high school and college and now having my running crew really helped me continue my running. There were times when it felt really hard or when I was injured, I felt like I couldn’t do it. But I had all these people in my corner.
D: At what point did you realize, ‘I’m actually really good at this”?
Q: I think I had that realization a few times in life. In high school, I did not want to run the 800m, but through years of growth, I ended up getting the All County award for the 800m my senior year of high school. In college, I thought I was going to get out of running cross country, but I grew to love it and became a beast (lol). In my adult life, I never thought I would run a marathon, but I’ve done it three times now and did pretty well.
D: What does representation mean to you as a female and a minority?
Q: It means a lot to me. We need more females of color (Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc.) represented in this sport. There are so many out there, but they are usually kept in the shadows.
D: How many races have you completed total? What were their distances?
Q: I have run so many races in my life. Maybe even over 100. I’ve run cross country races (5k- 10k), regular 5Ks, 10Ks, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 4x400m, 4x800m, sprint medley relays, distance medley relays, 400m hurdles, 1-mile, 2-miles, 1200m, 1000m, half marathons and three marathons.
D: Which race has had the biggest impact?
Q: My race with the biggest impact was the 2015 NYC marathon. I ran that race a few months after having my son. It was my first marathon and I had only trained for a few months since I had my son in April of that year. It was not my best or fastest race but it made me free like a superwoman, a strong woman, a woman who could do anything she put her mind to.
D: What do you focus on as motivation?
Q: I use my children as motivation. There are times I don’t want to do anything but I know they are watching me.
D: Recently, Black runners have been getting more attention in the media, both in news and marketing, what effect do you think that has?
Q: Honestly, there were always amazing Black runners out there. I have run with them, watched them run, looked up to them, etc. It’s about time they are getting more attention in the media.
D: You have done some awesome media campaigns for running. What do you think it means to other Black women and young girls to see someone featured that looks like them?
Q: I think it makes young girls and Black women see that we are as good or even better than anyone else out there. We are strong, powerful and beautiful.
D: What do you love most about running?
Q: Even when I don’t feel like doing it, when I get done with a run, I feel so accomplished and at peace.
D: What do you dislike most about running?
Q: Injuries. I’ve been injured so many times in my life due to running.
D: What’s your favorite post-run treat?
Q: A cold beer or a mimosa. Lol
D: What are your upcoming running goals?
Q: I’m taking a small break from running to focus on strengthening myself. I’m so tired of being injured. My next marathons are Chicago and Berlin, though.
D: What is a running quote that best fits your running lifestyle?
Q: So I don’t have a favorite running quote but I have a favorite Bible verse that fits my life: “God is within her, she will not fail.” - Psalm 46:5.
Editor’s Note: We are very sad to report that Marquita passed away on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Quita was a valued member of the running community in New York City and across the world, a wife and mother, a teacher, an activist and a loving friend to many. She will be greatly missed. Read more about her and make a contribution to her family’s fund here.