André Morgan, 37, played soccer as a kid, coming to running later and joining his first group run in 2015. He ran with several different crews, making friends in each. His friend and fellow runner, Anoke Dunston, says, “André is basically the mayor of Hamilton.”
A freelance photographer and ultrarunner, above all else, Morgan is a connector. Dunston says, “The gta run crew scene can be a little cliquey. But André is able to bring every group together. It speaks to who André is as a person that he can bring every crew together for a unified cause.”
The cause Dunston refers to is The Coldest Night of the Year—a charity walk/run whose proceeds go to Toronto’s St. Felix Centre, a not-for-profit that provides support to the city’s most marginalized. In 2022, more than 30,000 people participated, walking and running through a February evening in support of those in need.
Growing up in Jamaica, Morgan says he wasn’t exposed to long-distance running, and especially not to ultrarunning or trail running. But after a few years of running on the roads, he learned he loved the longer distances. “I got into ultrarunning, and that space allowed me to do a bit more. I was better at running off-road and longer distances than I was at marathons.”
Morgan has endeavoured to improve the running community while making meaningful change in the broader community. Beyond introducing runners to The Coldest Night of the Year, he’s also started a second initiative to help the St. Felix Centre called Monthly Meals. Runners raise the money to purchase ingredients, then prepare it in the Collective Arts Brewery kitchen in Toronto once a month; Morgan reports that they’ve done two successful fundraisers, with more than 300 meals prepared in only two months of operation.
Morgan’s main goal is to give back, to encourage others to do the same and, above all, to make it fun: “Showing up for someone else means we’re not just talking about community, but actually sharing the space. Go to other people’s events, and no matter how small your contribution may be, do your part. It’s about giving what you can give.”