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Running with Purpose: Sika Henry Honors a Living Legend

30,000 runners. 26.2 miles. And this year, heavy rain at the finish line.

No matter the weather, the Boston Marathon is always an exalted expression of the human spirit.  

This year’s 127th marathon marked the tenth anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing to the day. Our brand ambassador, Sika Henry, was ecstatic to participate.

A smiling #6990

“I wanted to run Boston but was always training for a triathlon at this time of the year.”

The first African-American female pro-triathlete has moved into marathons and ultramarathons in a big way. After running the Houston Marathon earlier this year, Sika is preparing to run a challenging ultramarathon in June (more about that below).

For Sika, running Boston turned out to be the experience of a lifetime, a race she previously qualified for six times; this year she was invited to run in honor of a living legend.

“Along with other women of color, I participated in honor of Marilyn Bevans,” said Sika. A pioneer in the world of long-distance running, Bevans was the first African American woman to finish a marathon in under three hours in 1975 at the Boston Marathon and the first to medal there in 1977 with a runner-up finish.

Marilyn Bevans in 1977

Sika had the opportunity to meet her hero in person when Bevans spoke at a Podium Pioneers Panel as part of the Boston Marathon Expo.

Sika Henry and Marilyn Bevans

“People may not realize that there are only a handful of African American women who have broken the three hour mark in a marathon,” notes Sika.

According to running historian Gary Corbitt, son of legendary long-distance runner Theodore “Ted” Corbitt, to date 28 American-born African American women have broken three hours, including Sika, who did so in the 2020 Tidewater Striders Marathon. (Learn more about nine of these trailblazers in the documentary, Breaking Three Hours: Trailblazing African-American Women Marathoners.)

The Boston Marathon Expo event was an opportunity for Sika to also meet some of her fellow National Black Distance Running Hall of Fame honorees who came together as “Team Bevans”.  

“Team Bevans” from left: Sika Henry, Alisa Harvey, Ingrid Walters, Marilyn Bevans and Shawanna White

Group members who participated in the Boston Marathon spent the weekend together and gathered at the start line on Monday. “Each of us had our own goals and pace,” says Sika.

Ready to run! From left: Shawanna White, Alisa Harvey and Sika

While she decided not to compete in the Boston Marathon, Sika nonetheless clocked in at 3:08:30.

“Had I raced it,” she noted, “I would have been in the zone and missed the pure joy of just running, taking in the crowd support, smiling and waving to friends, thanking volunteers, and really just being thankful for every mile that I got to honor Marilyn Bevans!”

Since moving from triathlons to long-distance and ultramarathons, Sika has dug deep to stay motivated and inspired.  

“The first few months of the year were a bit rough for me - a constant battle between “I have to race pro as a triathlete or I’m nothing” and “life is short and there is still so much more I want to do and accomplish!”

Fortunately, the latter prevailed. At the finish line in Boston, Sika said, “I could’ve kept rolling for more miles.”

That’s great news as she prepares for her biggest marathon challenge to date: Comrades in South Africa. Known as “the ultimate human race,” the world's largest and oldest ultramarathon comes in at 89 kilometers (55 miles).

Like ServiceRocket, Sika is in it for the long run.

We support her commitment to greater equity in sports. Now in her second year as ServiceRocket brand ambassador, Sika inspires Rocketeers around the world to reach higher with their wellness goals.  

On the tenth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, #BostonStrong goes on and so does our brand ambassador, Sika Henry.

Go, Sika!

The Wellness Allowance program is just one of the global benefits that enable Rocketeers to live their best life possible. ServiceRocket’s inclusive community thrives on stable confidence and innovation. Join us.

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