Samia Akbar

Ali on the Run Show Episode 254: Samia Akbar, Fastest U.S.-Born Black Female Marathoner

“He made an assumption that I didn’t speak English and that’s why he didn’t speak to me. I remember feeling so hurt. Things like that happened to me all the time, being the first and only to do a lot of these distance events on the road racing circuit. And I feel like it was so hurtful. We are the epitome of the American Dream.”

A few weeks ago, Peyton Thomas was on the Ali on the Run Show. We talked about Peyton being the fourth-fastest U.S.-born Black female marathoner, which prompted the question: Who’s the fastest? That person is Samia Akbar. In 2006, Samia ran a 2:34 at the New York City Marathon, finishing 12th and earning the aforementioned title, which still stands. On this episode, Samia shares her running story, including how her dad instilled in her a love for running, how she went to American University on a full running scholarship, and how she spent seven years as a professional runner sponsored by Reebok. Today, Samia lives in Virginia and is a Global Marketing Manager for New Balance.

Thank you to AfterShokz for sponsoring this episode of the Ali on the Run Show! CLICK HERE for 15% off all wireless headphones.

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • Samia explains why she lives in Virginia but works in Boston (3:40)
  • How Samia became a runner (9:00)
  • On being competitive (21:35)
  • What it means to “take up space,” and how Samia learned to do that (22:45)
  • How Samia decided to become a professional runner (33:50)
  • Why Samia decided to run a marathon (45:20)
  • On being the fastest U.S.-born Black female marathoner (52:30)

What we mention on this episode:

Peyton Thomas on Episode 244 of the Ali on the Run Show

“A Conversation with Samia Akbar” via Fast Women

“The Undeniable Power of Sport” International Women’s Day panel via Hurdle podcast

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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