A week ago, I had been feeling slightly depressed due to the fact that I had a sprained tendon in my right foot. I had already taken two weeks off from running so that my foot could heal and I had no idea when I would be able to run again. Last Friday, I received a text message from my friend Jose with a screenshot of Kevin Hart's twitter feed saying he was partnering up with Nike Run Club on Saturday, July 11th! Now I had read about his “Spontaneous 5Ks” and seen many of the videos posted on YouTube and they looked like so much fun.
After hearing about the run that was going to take place in Brooklyn, I knew it was a no-brainer. I was running it. I wasn't sure if my foot knew, but I did and that's all that mattered. I signed up and passed the info on to some other runners and mentally prepared myself for Saturday.
Friday night I couldn't sleep. Not because of the possibility of meeting Kevin Hart, but something bigger than that… From the excitement of being able to finally run again! Two weeks of no running, like the shirt says, SUCKS! I met up with my Harlem Run peeps at 8am on 125th and St. Nicholas in front of Popeyes. Everyone showed up on time and we hopped on the train all smiles in anticipation of what the day would hold.
After transferring trains and finally arriving in Brooklyn at Prospect Park, all the rest was pretty much a blur. I remember checking in, getting a free t-shirt, talking to tons of my runner friends, and taking pictures galore. When Kevin came out and spoke to us I was excited but once he said to get this thing started, I was all too happy to run over with the crowd to the starting area.
All I know is we were all walking to where we thought the starting line was but all of a sudden the walking turned into running and behind me I could hear a few deep voices shouting out, "Watch out! Watch out! Make way! Make way!" I turned and saw Kevin Hart being led through the crowd by his bodyguards. I quickly ran behind them. I figured I came out to run with Hart, why not actually run with him?!
The entire time I was always one or two arm lengths from him, but let me tell you this was no easy run. The humidity came out of nowhere and literally took our breath away. On top of that, Kevin decided to pick up the pace after about 2 miles in. I could tell he was digging deep and giving it his all and at that moment I realized I had to make the decision of whether or not I was ready to do that. Too late, my feet had made the decision for me and were mirroring Kevin's stride. I forgot how easy running can be when you take your mind out of it and just be, just run, and that's what we did.
Although I was surrounded by many runners, I felt like it was just me and Kevin. He started to yell out "Time?! How far?!” One of the Nike coaches told him we were at 3 and a half miles and he slowed to stop but they egged him on saying that he was almost at the end. If looks could kill, we'd be mourning the loss of that coach who told him the distance!
We ran for about 3 more minutes but Kevin slowed down, said, "I'm done" and ran over to the side of the road with his bodyguards and laid out on his back. I can’t blame him. He ran further than the planned 3.1 miles and he had taken off the black Nike jacket he had been running in, mind you, running with it zipped up all the way!
After less than a minute of him laying down to catch his breath, he got up and we all walked about 3 minutes to the end point of the race and created a human tunnel of high fives to cheer on those runners coming behind us. That's one of the things I love about running the most: the camaraderie. It was truly an honor to be able to run with Kevin Hart in New York City and he and Nike put together a great event, but what I got most out of that day was that running is life. And boy did we run that day.