Auburn fitness director runs for a cause, garners solid community support

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Photo special to the Opelika Observer

By Natalie Anderson
Staff Reporter

Local resident and fitness director Jerrell Simpson ran for a cause last Saturday to celebrate the life of Ahmaud Arbery and what would have been his 26th birthday. 


Simpson, director of J. Simpson Fitness, is an active runner and is frequently on social media when he noticed much of the nation holding a run that Friday to celebrate Arbery’s life.

“I had originally posted on Facebook and Instagram that Thursday about going running and other people jumped on and wanted to run with me and run in other cities,” Simpson said. “There was inclement weather on Friday, so I moved the run to Saturday morning… I wanted to do something to commemorate him and run the 2.23 miles to celebrate his life and the date that he was taken from us as well.”

The run/walk began near Auburn University’s campus, where the group started on Magnolia and Donahue across the street from the original Momma Goldberg’s.

“We walked south from Donahue, went past the stadium and went past Samford and then finished where we started back where everyone’s car was,” Simpson said. “We hit the 2.23 mile and did about 2.8 miles total.. We all stopped and had a moment of silence when we reached the 2.23 mark.”

For Simpson, this run was a matter of trying to celebrate Arbery’s life and to stand up for vigilantism. 


“I believe in the judicial system and going about doing things the right way,” Simpson said. “All of the information wasn’t out such as if he was really running or really was a suspect, but regardless, what caused me to step up and want to do something was that he didn’t deserve to be gunned down that goes in a manner against the judicial system here in America.”

“I encourage individuals to preach love and go with the words of Martin Luther King Jr., ‘judge people by the content of the character over the way that they look,'” Simpson added.

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