Mile News

Once changing history, Reggie McAfee now changing lives

June 29, 2013

By Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer

Forty years ago, Reggie McAfee ran the first Mile in less than 4 minutes ever run by an African-American.

Now McAfee runs a far different race. He tries to positively affect the lives of as many young people in the Charlotte area as he can through a non-profit foundation called “Cross Country for Youth" that he started in 2006.

The foundation recently earned a national award for its work. It concentrates on making fourth through eighth graders better citizens and runners through a twice-a-week afterschool program held every fall in Charlotte and attended by hundreds.

McAfee, 63, has taken it one step at a time throughout his life, setting goals and determinedly working toward them. While not always the most talented in his field, he has long had an uncommon focus. “Let me tell you – you will not outwork me,” he said. “I’m just telling you a fact.”

McAfee has played many roles – champion runner, Xerox salesman, father, coach, organizer and cheerleader among them. And while some bemoan today’s youth, McAfee insists that the kids will be all right.

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