James Gray King on How a 1:59:59 Half-Marathon Finish Changed His Running Game
Each week, we highlight a unique NYRR Team for Kids runner and talk training runs, race-day rituals, and recovery. This week, Englishman-in-New York James Gray King tells us about what kick-started his relationship with running.
What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I'm running the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon!
What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
The TCS New York City Marathon is unlike any experience you can have in New York. From the crowds, to the words of encouragement, to the kids handing out bananas in the Bronx, to the camaraderie and friendships with Team for Kids runners and coaches, there's nothing like it!
Where is your favorite place to run and why?
I started running in New York, and as much as I try to run when I travel, New York will always be where the journey began. In addition to running with Team for Kids, I also train with North Brooklyn Runners and as such, meeting by "the bins" at the McCarren Park track will always have special meaning for me.
If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I actually do not listen to music when I run. Subsequently, it would have to be Sinatra as the TCS New York City Marathon kicks off on the Verrazano Bridge.
What is your favorite post-run meal?
A burger and a Guinness!
When did your relationship with running begin and why?
It began in February of 2015 as part of a fitness challenge at work. I decided to start running a mile a day, which felt terrible! I got through February and a friend then asked me to run a half-marathon in Brooklyn that October—for a charity. Somewhat intimidated, I told myself this would be the only one... unless I broke two hours! As luck would have it, coming in at 1:59:59, more races were clearly on the cards. A year and a month later, I ran my first New York City Marathon!
Running has very much turned into my mental leveler during stressful times. I have met some amazing new friends, and I am continually able to work toward new goals.
Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
I always have a chicken burrito the night before.
Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
At first, it felt like a good way to get into the Marathon. As training went on, however, and we heard more stories from people directly impacted by the work of Team for Kids, I felt increasingly connected to the cause and driven to what I could do to support it. Understanding what it can mean to younger people to goal-set, have a supportive environment, and become aware of what they can achieve has become a huge driver for me to return and run for TFK again.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
I am an Englishman living in New York with my wonderful wife, Kelly, and dog, Meatball. I have lived here for eight years after growing up in Oxford with a stint in Kenya. I have worked in music, design, and technology most of my life. I had never been a person who really engaged in anything fitness-related until running came along and changed everything!
To learn more about NYRR Team for Kids, visit runwithtfk.org.