Kevin Hart is not training for a marathon the way you would train for a marathon. He’s training how a Nike-sponsored, internationally touring comedian, CEO, author, moonlighting rapper, producer and movie star trains for a marathon.
So, basically, that means he trains whenever he has time – and he doesn’t have much.
Nevertheless, on November 5*, the 38-year-old fully intends to cross the finish line of the New York City Marathon, his first crack at the distance.
He hopes to do this despite the fact that he is not following any plan, is in the midst of launching his own streaming service called Laugh Out Loud Network, and is filming his next movie.
We know what you may be thinking, but this is no comedic stunt or effort to contrive nipple-chafing jokes. Hart simply wants to prove to himself, and his millions of fans, that he can do this.
He does have running experience. Two years ago during his countrywide comedy tour, he hosted pop-up 5Ks, and hundreds, sometimes thousands of fans joined him.
In August 2016, he completed the relay-style Hood to Coast in Oregon, where he ran 30km within 24 hours.
For New York, Hart is running based on how he feels, squeezing in two runs on weekdays, and trying for a long run on weekends.
On a sunny September afternoon, at a park in Redondo Beach, California, Hart dons skin-tight black leggings under black running shorts for his second tough workout of the day.
His first came early in the morning, which millions of fans already know, because he’s posted videos of the weightlifting session to Snapchat and Instagram.
It’s something the comedian does often, time-stamping the clips to show off the obscenely early hour that he’s awake and putting in work.
Hart is at the park to film a video with a local high school cross-country team. They’re doing an interval workout: a kay warm-up, two 800s, then two 400s. Three cameramen are staked out along the dusty, extremely hilly trails.
In a week and a half, the video will be cut down to less than two minutes and posted to Hart’s Instagram account so his 54.8 million followers can see that, yes, he is actually training to run a full 42.2km.
He could easily shoot a few takes, shake some kids’ hands, and move on. People would understand. This is, after all, his first of three photo shoots in the day.
Instead, Hart earnestly tries to hang with the lithe, swift teenagers. He mostly doesn’t.
At the top of a particularly steep hill, through heaving breaths, he jokes, “These kids are on steroids.”
He’s one of the last to finish the final 400, grimacing in a full sprint as the team applauds. It’s a tenacious scene that will make you believe that one of the world’s most famous comedians really can juggle his career while becoming a marathoner – training plans be damned.
Here, Hart tells us, in his own words, how and why he plans to do it.
“During a long run, there is no thinking. I’m zoned out in a good space with great music – everything from slow music to R&B to country to rock ’n’ roll.”
“When you do go through that pain where you are getting sore, a lot of people back off. But I think it is about getting your body used to that feeling. When I first ran 16km, I was like, ‘Oooh, wait a minute.’ On my next 8km run two days later, my body was like, ‘Kev, is this going to be a thing? Okay.’ So as you dig deeper, your body gets accustomed to it.”
“I am doing this to be an example that you can be anything that you put your mind to. I put my mind to it, and I am going to get it done. That simple.”
“Some of my greatest ideas happen during my runs. The peace that comes from running is the perfect time to be creative. My comedy is really my life experience, so I am sure I will find something funny about this marathon to talk about.”
“My favourite place to run is anywhere and everywhere.”
“I haven’t chafed. I am not sure where it is supposed to happen. But I would appreciate not being jinxed. Where do you chafe at? I am not putting lube on my butt.”
Read more: How to prevent and treat chafing
“What is motivating me? I think the fact that people are really following my journey and saying, ‘That’s dope that Kevin is going to do what he is doing.’ I have to finish for them.”
“When I cross the finish line, I am probably going to…What is that called? Oh yeah, throw up. And then sit down.”
“I don’t even know what the wall is. [Hart is told what the wall is.] That ain’t going to happen. It’s mental, man. All mental. Mark that down.”
Read more: How to train so you don’t hit the wall so damn hard
“I don’t have a fuelling strategy. I want to relish the pain of the process, naturally. Mind you, I say that now. Have some energy gels on standby at 22km.”
“My goal is to run it in 3:40 to 3:45.”
“I don’t get nervous. There is no such thing. As long as I s–t before the race, I will be fine.”
*Update: Hart finished his first New York City marathon in 4 hours, 5 minutes and 6 seconds.
This article was originally featured on www.runnersworld.co.za
Image credit: iStock