Third annual T-Fit Walk/Run grows in Amarillo
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working,” Pablo Picasso once said.
For CyrusOne Implementation Manager and 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award Winner Marcell Turner, inspiration has found him working tirelessly yet joyfully for the past several years. And the fruits of his labor were evident in the third annual T-FIT Walk/Run Event at Bones Hooks Park in Amarillo, Texas, on July 9, 2022.
Turner launched the event in 2019 to bring health and fitness awareness to the community. In its first year, 50 participants ranging from age 5 to 80 got up and moving and learned about healthier lifestyles, including better nutrition. The event went on hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it returned in 2021.
“I’ve been able to find my purpose through the last several years, and that prompted me to get into giving back to the community since CyrusOne gave me so much opportunity,” he said. “I can’t just sit here. Even though I work so many hours during the day, I have no reason not to give back. How better to help the community than to provide some of the gifts that I was provided at a young age?”
In 2022, the event signed up 70 people and raised more than $2,000 for Faith City Mission, which serves Amarillo’s homeless. The event was also special because it focused on mental health – an issue that recently hit close to home for Turner.
His cousin Amon Turner died from COVID-19, but he also had some underlying mental health challenges.
“These sorts of issues often happen over time and go unnoticed, so we need to be more pre-emptive,” Turner said. “I don’t want things to happen and then it’s too late. I’d rather be more involved and more active and offer preventative maintenance.”
For that reason, the T-FIT event in 2022 featured medical and mental health professionals who offered their expertise to participants and emphasized mental health as part of overall wellbeing. They further helped bridge trust gaps within the Black community.
“Because in our community, especially in minority communities, there’s a disparity when it comes to health, what we should or should not do, and trust,” Turner said. “And being from the South, some of our cuisine may not always be the healthiest.”
Given the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the event was also a reminder of the need for human interaction and connection for better mental health.
“There are a lot of things happening in the world today, and I believe we need to take hold and just show empathy and also become more involved in the community,” Turner said. “I felt a need to focus on my community right now. And there have been people and testimonies that I’m getting together now saying they couldn’t wait until the walk was happening.”
CyrusOne fully backs team members who try to improve their communities, promoting their efforts on social media and providing corporate support. Turner’s director Keith Roelands collaborated with Global Marketing Director Laurene Richards, on behalf of CyrusOne, to help raise money for the event, generate publicity and even had a hand in pre-event clean-up around the community. Roelands has also participated twice in the Walk/Run.
Sponsors took notice too, with Mt. Olive Church, Amarillo National Bank, Walgreens and CVS all contributing in some way to make the event successful. So successful, several Amarillo residents have asked Turner to make the event biannual, which he is strongly considering.
At the very least, the fourth annual event will focus on cancer survival, inspired by an event participant who shared her survivorship story with Turner.
It’s all about inspiration and work – inspiring his community to focus on health together, and inspiring others to achieve.
“This is an inspiration for me as well,” he said. “To go to work during the week and on the weekends. The community has been an inspiration for me, whether they know it or not, and it allows me to open my eyes a little bit wider to reach out to other entities to get them to participate. I’m very excited about what the future holds.”
His goal is now to boost the event’s charitable giving and inspire a new generation of minorities to consider opportunities in the data center industry.
“We’re going to increase the financial awareness for T-Fit Walk/Run, but this is also a platform for me, for minorities within the minority community, to say, ‘Hey, look, Marcel’s in the data center industry. He’s an implementation manager and I can also do that’,” he said. “So not only am I helping out hopefully with the community directly, but indirectly as a platform that CyrusOne has provided for me to show there’s opportunity within the IT field more specifically within implementations and more specifically within the data center industry.”