How Harlem Run Became My Crew

My first run with Harlem Run was August 3rd 2015 when I was 12 years old... I just turned 13 in September ;).  I am a 2nd degree black belt in Karate, I play basketball on a organized team with older guys, and now I can say that I am also a runner and Harlem Run is my crew!!!

 My mom April has been running for years but just started running outside and was running a lot of races to finish her 9 +1 to get into the NYC Marathon. I really liked going to her races and the energy from all the runners was contagious. I wanted to run with her to see why she loved it so much. I asked her for many months if she would buy me running sneakers.  She ignored me at first, but after a while she saw I was serious. 

Since I was little I have had chest pains once in a while. So my mom made an appointment for me to see a cardiologist to see if I could run because she was afraid my heart would stop and I would die like you hear of football players sometimes. The cardiologist ran several intense tests and finally said that I had a strong, healthy heart and gave me the thumps up to run. Finally!!! I was so excited. While we were waiting for my new sneakers to come in the mail, my mom met Amir and he invited her to come to the Monday run..  She asked if I wanted to go since it was in Harlem; we are from Harlem but never heard of Harlem Run which seems crazy to me now!

It was hard, especially running up the Harlem Hills in Central Park but I pushed through and made it in Raydime's 11 min per mile pace group.  I wanted to run every day I liked it so much..  I ran the next day 4 miles with my mom andlearned what recovery was and why it was necessary to rest after running from the pain I felt.  I then knew I had to respect the sport, listen and learn and take running seriously. 

 I never want to ever miss a run... My friends see me running with HR around my neighborhood and I feel good flying by them in my gear with my crew. Harlem Run is my Family. It is nice to see people get along and be nice to each other for a change. So many runners at all levels.  Every week I can see the crew growing. It is helping me not to be so shy. 

Whenever I meet a new runner I feel like I've know them for a long time.  I met Sean and he is like a big brother to me... and he is so fast!! I am gonna beat him one day (or at least keep up mile for mile in his fastest pace)!! He coaches me and pushes me to be better.  All the captains are really strong athletes and they are so nice and helpful. 

 Mondays are my favorite day now.   I cannot wait to see what the route will be and to see how much faster and longer I can run... When I saw Alison and everyone in Runners World, I was so proud.  #mycrewisbetterthanyours. And the Under Armour Deal is so dope. I know we have so much more exciting stuff coming and I feel like I am a part of it.

When I think about my future with Harlem Run, I know I want to be a captain one day!!  Maybe run in college with a scholarship and come home on breaks and pace a very fast group like 7 min mile... I am also looking at high schools that have track and field along with basketball.  Running makes my legs stronger and my jumps higher in basketball. I also feel lighter and quicker in Karate. It is making me better at everything! I've already ran three 5Ks and have more coming up. I am not sure if I want to run a full marathon yet, but I asked my mom to let me do the 9+1 program next year because I want to try longer races... I want to get stronger, faster, and most of all, I want to make Harlem Run proud.


Amir Figueroa7 Comments