It’s been a year since Apple rolled out Fitness+, and the subscription workout program has been growing at a steady pace. One of my favorite parts of Fitness + is the Time to Walk series, which allows you to listen to influencers and celebrities while you walk. It’s easy to put in the miles while listening to their compelling stories. Apple has released two seasons of storytellers, and we expect it to add a third season soon. Here are five people we want to hear from next.
Hayley Arceneaux, civilian astronaut
From cancer survivor to commercial astronaut, Hayley Arceneaux has been an inspiration to everyone around her. At 29, she became the youngest American in space when she joined the SpaceX Inspriration4 flight, an all-civilian mission into Earth’s orbit.
Arceneaux dreamed of becoming an astronaut after visiting NASA’s Johnson Space Center as a child. Her dreams were dashed when she was diagnosed with bone cancer at 10 years old. She fought cancer and won, though she lost part of her leg in that battle. Her prothesis disqualified her from joining NASA’s astronaut program, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming.
She ended up working at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the same hospital that helped her conquer cancer. The hospital chose her for the SpaceX flight and she occupied one of two seats purchased by billionaire crewmember Jared Isaacman at a fundraiser for the hospital.
Kerry James Marshall, artist
Born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama, Kerry James Marshall grew up in the Civil Rights era. He was eight years old when a white supremacist group bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church and killed four children. Marshall then moved to Los Angeles with his family and lived through the Watts Rebellion when he was 10 years old. These experiences were formative for Marshall both in his life and his art. Marshall’s work focused on black paintings, a highly contentious category that Marshall has transformed into a powerful reflection on African American life.
We’d love to hear about Marshall’s childhood and how it has influenced his work. His words could inspire the next generation of artists to embrace their heritage even when facing discrimination.
Kathrine Switzer, long-distance athlete
In 1966, Kathrine Switzer was a college student at Syracuse University. She desperately wanted to run competitively, but at the time, there were no college teams or even running groups for women. Switzer did the next best thing — she began unofficially training with the men’s cross country team. She was welcomed by coach Arnie Biggs and was enthralled by his stories from the Boston Marathon.
Not content with listening, Switzer wanted to make the Boston Marathon a reality. There was a significant roadblock to her dream — no women were allowed into the race. There was no gender question on the registration form, so Switzer registered for the race in the spring of 1967. She was joined by her coach, boyfriend, and teammate. She made headlines when race officials discovered she was a woman and chased her to pull her from the course. Her boyfriend and coach came to her aid and she finished the marathon, becoming the first woman ever to enter and complete the race.
In the process, Switzer unwittingly changed the world of women’s running. Now, women run everything from 5Ks to 200 mile-endurance runs. How fun it would be to walk step-by-step with this champion. And what a compelling story to motivate you while you walk and continue your exercise journey.
Bob Weir, musician
Bob Weir, one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead, is not your typical rocker. Instead of easing into later life, Weir is touring nearly year-round and exercising like a banshee. Incorporating a bit of CrossFit with traditional practices, Weir has kept himself fit and considers himself an athlete as well as a musician.
He’s never pushed his zeal for exercise on people, but he firmly believes it is essential to a person’s happiness. As someone who has walked the walked for most of his life, Weir could inspire those struggling to stay dedicated to their exercise regime. We’d love to hear his stories about his time as a world-renowned musician and an avid fitness fan.
Nokwanda Makunga, botanist
You probably have never heard of Nokwanda Makunga, but you need to hear her story. She’s a medicinal botanist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Not only does she work at the cutting edge of plant biology, but the scientist also organized a worldwide social media campaign to promote interest in this field.
Working with Tanisha Williams, a postdoctoral researcher at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, and others, the team created #BlackBotanists week. The hashtag caught fire, with more than 223,000 people from around the world participating in the campaign. Speaking to Nature, Makunga said she hopes to inspire others to pursue a career in low-diversity fields like science.
We’d love to hear Makunga’s story of achieving global success while working in a South African University with ties to apartheid and in an academic setting that is stacked against her. We’d love to learn more about how she plans to grow this campaign and affect change worldwide.