‘Gazelle of San Quentin’ qualifies for Boston Marathon after serving 18 years in prison
Everyone in life makes mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others while some leave people wishing they could take it all back. But when mistakes are life-altering it can really take a toll on your mental health and your future.
Markelle Taylor made a fatal mistake that landed him in San Quentin State Prison for nearly two decades serving an 18 year sentence for second-degree murder. While he was serving his time, he joined the track team and excelled under the tutelage of the volunteer coaches. According to CBS News, Taylor became such an exceptional runner that he quickly earned the nickname, “The Gazelle of San Quentin.”
Taylor joined the prison’s 1000 Mile Club and won nearly every race. In fact, he was so fast that he qualified for the Boston Marathon. But there was a catch – he wasn’t scheduled to be released in time to participate. But as a special condition of his parole, Taylor was released in 2019 just a month before the race.
As the world’s oldest marathon, dating back to 1897, the Boston race has a lot of history. It was also the location of the first time a woman completed a marathon—Kathrine Switzer in 1967. For someone who has just been given a second chance at life, qualifying was a big deal. Taylor was given special permission to attend the marathon while on parole in 2019, having qualified the month before. He recently ran the 26.1 mile course for a second time and finished with a time he was more excited about: 2 hours and 52 minutes flat, which placed him in the top 5% of all runners.
Taylor’s story is one of mistakes and heartbreak but it’s also one of triumph. The marathoner runs in memory of the son he lost and plans to continue doing his best to make the most out of the rest of his life.
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