What is Kyle Doing?!

Have you ever found yourself treading water? Things are mostly okay for you–in fact, some things are great–yet a force inside is pulling you forward. You are not sure where in the heck you will end up. The unknown is scary; yet exhilarating.

I find myself being moved…and a force has brought me to my present location: a 1980’s-style train station waiting room in the gritty downtown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

My phone died, so here I sit, surrounded by all sorts of interesting characters and just below a blank-staring woman who looks obsessively, unceasingly, at the train map behind my head–for at least half an hour and counting.

Here’s where my day began–my neighborhood in The Bronx, New York:

Where was I heading? And why did I awaken at 0457 (darn it, woke up before 0501 alarm)?

There was a race in Roselle, New Jersey this morning. But it was a small race. Why travel 32 miles from home to a strange place?

I felt compelled to plan this trip as of Thursday night. There are certain moments in life capable of altering the course of one’s life. I felt assured that meeting folks from Run Anyway this morning may very well pivot my existence in the forseeable future.

So, I took New Jersey Transit for an appointment with my potential destiny. Would it be worth the $7.25 each way?

We passed through Secaucus, then saw the skyline of Newark.
I made note of a nice looking running path along the water.

We arrived ahead of schedule and I exited to the streets below.

Just below this tower, I asked a New Jersey Transit police officer about running to the park in Roselle. “I wouldn’t,” he responded. “It’s not a safe area.”

I stepped outside around this corner and quickly got a view of what the officer was mentioning…

So, within five minutes of leaving the train station, I saw two heroin addicts passed out on the ground in front of a bodega. Next up: I walked past a man talking loudly into his phone as I jumped over a curb and into the street to avoid cigarette smoke he was belching out to all around.

Two women arrived upon the scene: middle aged, life beaten. A bag over each woman’s shoulder. As I waited with a group of folks for the 59 bus, the smoker shouts loudly to one of the life beaten ladies–“Hey! You know Tyrone?!” 

Just like that the lady joins his side and they are soon off down the street together. An older African American gentleman named Cliff says to me: ” You see how she picked him up?! Did you see her?”

“I’m new in town so I’m not saying anything,” I replied tactfully as prostitution scenarios unfolded around me.

Cliff made me sit next to him at the front of the bus. My leg was hard against his. He never displayed an ounce of discomfort; neither could I. “I’ll tell you where to get off.” The female bus driver was real nice, too, and waited for me to cross the street in front of the bus after my exit.

Here was my destination:

I registered for the race–raising money for a teen suicide prevention hotline–and soon began warming up. First, and most regrettably, I used this port o potty…

Take my advice: Do NOT use it. (Don’t worry, I did not sit down.)

Lance soon arrived. Founder of the organization Run Anyway, this tour de force burst onto the NYC scene in the wake of the cancellation of the New York Marathon in 2012. 

He put word out for folks registered to race to join up in Central Park to “run anyway.” He expected about 30. About 3,000 runners showed up.

He now puts on races for children’s causes all over Jersey and helps lead the 500 For the Fallen relay (see previous posts).

I had to make the trip once Lance recommended I come out to meet Run Anyway board members.

First things first, we had to race five kilometers (3.1 miles). Here’s some of the racing course…

Glory to G-d, I was able to run my fastest time in a year, 17:16, just 36 hours after a 12 x 400meter track workout (100m recoveries, with 3 mile warm up and 3 mile cool down). 

Top 3 women and top 3 men after race:

I met so many wonderful folks and promoted my fundraising ideas with them. We networked, exchanged contact info, and got really excited about saving the world!

So, what’s the pitch? You may be asking, still wondering, why Roselle, why now?

Not quite ready to roll it out publicly until I have a strong partner organization to plan with, suffice it to say it involves me quitting my job and sacrificing a lot to help create positive change for others.

Dear friends, I hope to share more ideas with you all in the near future…

Meanwhile, I made it back to New York–after running the race course three more times solo–and just ate my Beastburger from the vegan Cinnamon Snail joint adjacent to Madison Square Garden (33rd & 7th inside The Pennsy food court).

3 Comments Add yours

  1. myriamloor says:

    Enjoyed the story. Looking forward to the announcement

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim says:

    An enjoyable post. I’m not sure I’m brave enough (or fast enough!) to run in a risky area. I’m surprised that Parkrun doesn’t have more of a presence in the USA – they are a great way to start running and fantastic networks for runners.
    Thanks for checking out my blog 😃


    1. Thanks so much for visiting and for the comments. I’ve never heard of Parkrun…


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