Provo runner with inspirational sign believes in you

Brice Nokes stands with his “I Believe in You” sign. Nokes said he has taken his sign to many different places. (Photo courtesy of Brice Nokes)

In early 2023, Brice Nokes was struggling to find purpose in his life.

“I was trying to figure out what to do with school, I was just at a really low point in life,” he said.

At that point, Nokes, a long-time runner, stumbled upon an Instagram page (@RunnerGuyWithASign) and had his first exposure to Benjamin Lyne, an Eagle Mountain resident who has been running with an “I Believe in You” sign for almost five years.

Nokes reached out and Lyne challenged him to do the same thing he was doing but in Provo. He picked up a sign from Lyne and began to run with it.

“At the beginning, I was running more for myself … Then as I kept on doing it, it was more to run for other people as well. That was like the main driving force because it just brought a smile to people’s faces,” Nokes said.

People will honk and yell out from their cars, but Nokes said seeing people smile and letting them know they can live up to their potential is his main goal.

“My mile time sucks because I’m holding a sign the entire time when I’m running. But it was just awesome to see people’s reactions,” Nokes said. “I felt like I was doing something good in the world. I would run farther and longer with the sign than I would without it, just because I felt like I had a purpose with it.”

Nokes’ usual running route includes some of the busiest roads in Provo. While running on University Avenue and University Parkway, Nokes said he receives plenty of honks and cheers from cars passing by. (Andrew Osborn)

Lyne, Nokes’ inspiration for the sign, said he doesn’t know of anyone who ran with a sign before him.

“After doing it for a couple years, I realized probably why nobody else does it,” Lyne said.

Like Nokes, Lyne is an avid runner. After years of racing, Lyne said he was getting to the point where racing was losing its flavor.

While out running one day, Lyne had the idea to do his usual runs while holding a sign with an inspirational message written on it, he said.

“I got home and I wrote it down. I thought, ‘I’m gonna have a sign, and I’m gonna run with it. And I’m gonna have events, you know, where people can run, they can come get together with me on a street corner, we’ll hold the signs up and motivate people on their way to work,’” Lyne said.

Benjamin Lyne stands with his “I Believe in You” sign. A runner for many years, Lyne said running with the sign has had an overwhelmingly positive response. (Photo courtesy of Benjamin Lyne)

Upon returning home from the run, however, Lyne said he second-guessed his idea.

“I just kind of felt like, ‘That’s stupid, people are gonna think I’m stupid or crazy,’” he said.

On a later run, the idea of running with the sign popped back into his head, and this time Lyne rushed home to create the sign.

“When I started running, the first lady was driving towards me and she honked and waved,” Lyne said. “It felt so good, I didn’t plan to hold the sign above my head but every time I’d see a car I would hold it above my head. It was really fun.”

Lyne said he has experienced nothing but positivity on his runs.

“I’ve had people pull over multiple times, you know, people contact me, post online, all kinds of things,” he said. “I mean, in some cases, you know, I save lives. It’s been that impactful for people and so it’s something I want to spread as far as possible.”

Multiple people have reached out to Lyne and asked if they could do a similar thing in their city, Lyne said.

“I just want to spread it as far as I can. I want everybody and anybody to copy me,” he said. “I do not have a copyright on this idea or the message. I want it to spread, I want to just fight back on all the negativity out there.”

When Nokes reached out to Lyne asking about the process of running with a sign, Lyne said he was honest with him and told him that it was really hard.

“I didn’t trick him into it or anything … Brice is just one of those guys that was brave enough to come and follow me and do what I do,” Lyne said.

2024 is looking to be a big year, Lyne said. He has plans to start his own charity which will fund runners all across the world with kits and materials so they can do what Lyne and Nokes do.

“My goal is to have someone like me in every city around the world,” Lyne said.

Interested readers can follow along with Lyne and Nokes’ journeys on Instagram.

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