“I think we need to get out there and whoop this 5K’s behind together as a group,” yelled superstar comedian Kevin Hart to a crowd of about 1,000 runners gathered on Pier 26 in Hudson River Park last Friday, October 30.
“I don’t leave until everybody here has finished this race. I’mma tell you something: the longer you take, the longer you hold my day up. I got stuff to do. I’ve got a show in Reno, Nevada tonight. I gotta be back on the plane, so don’t take all day. You get your behind across that finish line, where my little black behind is at the finish line waiting for you, to high five you. So if I see you strolling, walking when you get there, I’mma punch you.”
Laughter rolled through the crowd, but they were about to find out he wasn’t totally joking about a little healthy hustle he was asking us for.
Since June, Hart has been inviting his fans to run with him as he travels to cities around the country for his What Now? comedy tour. It started as an impromptu invite he sent out on social media and then blew up into a serious series after he established a formal partnership with Nike+ Run Club.
“New York, understand something. I practice what I preach,” he said. “This is not a race, it’s not about who finishes first, it’s not about who finishes last, it’s about simply finishing.”
Okay, but I still wanted to finish closer to first than last, and I thought, “maybe I can keep up with him so I can see him in action and ask him a few questions along the way.” But I was deluded. My nine-inch advantage over 5-foot-tall Hart didn’t make much of a difference in terms of stride. I was running between 7:30- and 8:00-minute miles, and he was leaving me in the dust. After just a few minutes, he was out of view.
When I got to the finish line, Nike and Hart were in place offering high-fives to each and every runner. He had a long wait ahead of him, given that his impressive 5K time was 21:45.
So why is Hart (who’s obviously a training machine) so into sharing his passion for running? “This is about kick-starting yourself in the right direction,” he said. “I’m serious about this health thing. You get one life. One life, people. I suggest you take care of it, take advantage of the opportunity to be healthy.” —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit nike.com
(Photos: Instagram/kevinhart4real, Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)