UWM grad finds 'bigger purpose' on sidewalks with F.E.A.R.

Running through the streets of Milwaukee is something Tenia Fisher has been doing for a very long time.

"I started running when I was 12 years old," she said.

The passion led her to run competitively at UW-Milwaukee.

"I loved that sense of team and community," said Tenia.

When she graduated, her running goals changed.

"I used to run to break records or win track meets, get a gold medal," Tenia said. "And now, it’s a bigger purpose."

Tenia is a co-founder of the running group F.E.A.R. MKE.

"Getting people to enjoy running," she said. "That warms my heart."

(FOX6 News Milwaukee)

It's a running group for people in the Milwaukee area.

"Any age, any running ability, all levels, shapes, sizes. Even if you don’t consider yourself a runner, you’re our people," said Tenia. "You’re definitely welcome."

F.E.A.R. started in 2015 and stands for "Forget Everything And Run."

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For Tenia, it stands for much more when it comes to the people in her group.

"We’ve seen people reach personal fitness goals of losing weight or just wanting to get their bodies moving daily or weekly with us," she said. "So it’s a bigger purpose more than running. We’ve created a family and a safe space in Milwaukee for people to enjoy."

The family is figurative and literal for Tenia. Her brother, Toney, is part of the 30 to 40 runners who meet a couple of times a week.

"She needed help here running F.E.A.R. MKE," said Toney. "So I decided why not join and keep the family tradition going."

Much like her running goals have changed, running with fear has affected Tenia in a profound way.

"We were trying to change that narrative that running in Milwaukee or running in the nation is only a white sport and people of color don’t run," said Tenia. "I love that I’m kind of like, an activist now for the sport, trying to get more people of color to be running. We’re changing the faces of Milwaukee and changing this movement and changing the narrative that we are the most segregated city in the nation."

Like training for a race, changing the perception and the culture in the city is a step-by-step process that is taking a conscious effort.

"We did a few pop-ups on the north side," Toney said. "I think that helps people, you know, if we’re on the east side, and they live far on the north side, they might not want to travel that far. So those pop-ups help get them introduced into running, and that way, we reached a different part of the city. So I think that helps bring in that divide of Milwaukee."

It keeps Tenia and Toney focused on their mission.

"I think it’s a sport that all people can enjoy," Tenia said. "And we don’t see a lot of people of color running. I think that’s more of a reason to get involved."

F.E.A.R. meets every Tuesday at Company Brewing in Milwaukee and every Saturday at Atwater Park.

It's for all levels of runners and is open to everyone.

Every year, F.E.A.R. hosts a 5K called "Run the Yard."