Black runner body shamed during New York City Marathon responds to critics

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

As ultramarathoner Latoya Shauntay Snell was finishing up the last four miles of the New York City Marathon she heard heckling from a man who was making fun of her for her curves.

The fitness and food blogger said she lost her focus and joy when “tall, balding white man felt it appropriate to shout, ‘It’s gonna take your fat ass forever, huh?’”

In an essay she wrote for The Root she wrote, “Shocked and angry, I stopped and retorted expletives and insults.

“Two other female runners witnessed our confrontation and told me he wasn’t worth it. They were right, of course, but the damage was already done. By that point, I’d lost minutes and much-needed energy to a man who took pride in poking fun at my size.”

Snell says that there was much the man was unaware of. For example, running was her way of coping with the miscarriage of her twins last summer, having emergency endometriosis surgery and dealing with the racist comments she faces on her blog.

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He also didn’t know that this was her eighth marathon, having also completed two ultramarathons and that through running she has lost 50 pounds.

“As a mere spectator, he saw my 5-foot-3-inch, 218-pound body as a joke. And I — an exhausted runner who was so close but still so far from the finish line — fell for the bait, as he lured me with insults,” she penned.

As Snell finished the marathon she decided to put his ugly words behind her.

“I felt content,” she wrote. “I didn’t need to harbor anger or aggression; that man wasn’t the first, and likely won’t be the last, to toss off a callous comment about my weight.”

“I’m fat. Full-figured. Thick. Plus-size. Powerful. Capable. Empowering. Phenomenal. And in the end, my real clapback that day came from the power of my thick legs shuffling me from New York’s Staten Island, across five boroughs and ending in the drizzling rain in Manhattan,” she stated.