You never know where the revolution will start, but when it happens you damn sure know it. Kevin Hart has officially started a revolution and single handily made running cool again. When I say cool again, let me explain.
Black People don’t run long distances, it’s a fact. Go to a local 5k in your neighborhood and start counting the number of African Americans you see. No abacus needed, you should be able to do it on one hand. Don’t be fooled when you turn on the TV and see black people leading the Boston Marathon or winning the distance races at the Olympics, they are Africans, and Africans dominate running. I’m talking about African Americans and, we hate to run long distances. Have you ever read the comedic blog Stuff White People Like ? Look at number 27 … on the original list … Run Marathons… enough said, but let me back those statements up with numbers.
Statistics show that 4 years ago, minorities, especially black people, had all but given up running. A 2011 survey by Running USA noted that 90 percent of the participants in distance races from 5K to Marathons across the country were White, less then 2 percent were African Americans. Thats a problem. Especially when we are talking about a community, according to recent studies, with a close to 48 percent obesity rate. Think about that, nearly half of black america isn’t just over weight, we are OBESE.
There is hope, thanks to organizations like Black Girls Run, The National Black Marathoners Association, Live2Run and others. These groups have been able to galvanize small groups of people to run and get healthy, mostly thanks to a great online presence, but now we may have just found our messiah.
Last night in Los Angeles there were thousands of people, of all shapes and sizes, of all creeds and colors, lined up to run a 5K at dusk because Kevin Hart said it would be fun. The majority of the people were minorities, and a lot of them, fair to say don’t run a lot, but they were there because Kevin Hart said this is what we should be doing. And this is how it has been all summer across the country. Kevin posts a message on social media and people show up in droves. Boston, Philly, Houston, Portland, San Francisco, the list goes on and on. Some of the runs have been early, others like last night, have been later in the evening, it doesn’t matter, people show up, and they run. Some fast, some slow, some walk, but people show up and feel like they belong. He’s winning, because Kevin Hart makes us feel good about ourselves, he laughs, we laugh, and even after suffering through a 5k, there are smiles all around.
Last night he stood at the finish line and waited for every runner to cross. He greeted them all, even took pictures and they all crossed the finish line with big smiles on their faces. The last runners were two older women. Who clearly do not run on a regular basis, and 3.5 miles was a little ambitious. I could tell they were slightly embarrassed to see a crowd of thousands waiting for them at the finish line, and could have done without the recognition of being last, but then Kevin got on the mic and coaxed them across the finish line in a way, that only Kevin could. He hugged the ladies and took pictures, bulbs were flashing people were cheering and all of a sudden they were happy. Kevin Hart, makes us laugh, even when we are hurting.
Now with Nike’s backing, and they are all in, sky’s the limit. The company has desperately been searching for an ambassador for the masses, ever since Lance Armstrong admitted that he cheated his way to the top and his Nike Live Strong gear became more toxic than Chernobyl. I don’t think they figured that the little guy from Soul Plane would be their savior.
So here’s the point, the revolution has started, and a guy who we can all relate to, not some super human athlete is leading it. You may laugh when I say this but, this time next year, we all may be buying Kevin Hart Nike running shoes and gear, so we can trot down the street with our friends in style, and thats just fine by me. Because I want to be a part of this guys revolution and like everything else he has done, I wouldn’t bet against him.