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Is There A Reason For All The Extensive Marathon Preparation?

Allie Burdick /
Photo of Kevin Hart running the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon. Photo provided by NYRR.

How Much Is Race Day Prep Worth, Anyway?

After reading Kevin Hart’s approach to training for and running 26.2 miles for his first time ever, I was intrigued. The 38-year-old comedian’s laid back “I don’t have a fueling strategy” comments and plans to run only one 18-miler before the big day, then predicting a 3:40:00 or 3:45:00 finish had me more interested in his performance than almost anyone else’s during the TCS New York City Marathon this past November. Obviously all of that changed on race day with Shalane Flanagan’s amazing performance; but after I wiped my tears of joy, I started stalking Kevin Hart’s results.

We have seen this before with celebrity running. In 2006, Lance Armstrong tried to tame the 26.2 beast with minimal training, relying on his domination in cycling to carry him through (well, that and a star-studded pace team–but even they couldn’t give the superstar cyclist what he needed on race day, which was namely adequate training and a tested fueling plan). Armstrong finished in a amazing time of 2:59:36 but was quoted in the New York Times as saying it was the “hardest physical thing” he had ever done. Just a reminder: Armstrong won the Tour de France seven consecutive times. Seven.

Fast forward 11 years and we have Kevin Hart. Obviously, Hart is not the athlete Armstrong was. However, he was proceeding similarly with no training plan, relying on his mental toughness to get him through to a very fast finish.

Over the course of the marathon, I debated with myself. Could he truly do it? Can someone have minimal training and a lack of distance running knowledge (Hart confessed to not knowing what the terms “chafing” or “the wall” meant) and still run an 8:20 average mile pace 26.2 times in a row? Are the masses of runners who obsess over pacing and training plans and fuel and socks getting too bogged down in the details? I couldn’t wait to find out.

Later that night, what I found was a picture of an exhausted Hart on his Instagram page with the caption:

“26.2 Damn it….The New York Marathon is officially completed…Check this goal off of my list damn it. #HustleHart #MoveWithHart

Kevin Hart’s first post-NYC Marathon photo on Instagram.

But he didn’t mention his finish time, so I looked it up. When I read he had finished the race with a respectable time of 4:05:06, I breathed a sigh of relief. All of our obsessions over training and fueling really do work! There is a method to marathon training madness–and the key to that method is preparation.

I continued to check on Hart via Instagram, and I’m so glad I did, because on the following day, he posted this:

“Ran 26.2 miles yesterday & jumped on a plane immediately after to rush to LA to my sons B Day party only to turn right around & head back to ATL to finish my last day of shooting on my movie Night School….I love you son. I wouldn’t miss your day for anything….Sorry dad couldn’t walk and play but my legs were shot [crying while laughing emojis] #Harts….P.S look at my neck in the photo…I still had my gold medal on from the marathon.”

One day after completing the NYC Marathon, Hart was still proudly wearing his finisher’s medal.

Celebrity marathon runners really are just like us. Keep wearing that medal, Kevin! You earned it.

Related:

Race Recap: Shalane Flanagan Wins The 2017 TCS NYC Marathon

5 New York City Marathon Tips You Haven’t Heard Yet

Hey Hollywood, Thanks For The Hilarious Running Scenes