Alicia Keys is getting ready to run the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon for the first time on November 1, but this isn’t the singer’s first 26.2-mile run. In an essay for Refinery29, Keys recounts her experience running a marathon in Greece in 2007 and deciding that she’ll probably never want to run one again. Until her brother approached her about joining him in this year’s NYC event.
Keys initially balked at the idea and the amount of training it would take to participate, but she eventually bought in.
“I thought, ‘This is my city, so why not?’” she wrote. “I thought about all the times I rode a train through the boroughs or drove through the boroughs, and it occurred to me that I've never run through the five boroughs. So why not?”
“And why not” has become the 34-year-old’s new mantra as she trains for the upcoming marathon. She also writes about how her foundation, Keep a Child Alive, has helped her push past the limits in order to bring attention to those who need it most.
“And the best part is that all of this is not really about me. It's about supporting Keep a Child Alive, which my co-founders and I created to get life-saving HIV medications to African children and families who otherwise would not have access to treatment,” Keys explained. “We have been able to help seven grassroots programs in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and India with medical care, food, and psychosocial support. This is what inspires me when my body begins to tire. My training is nothing compared to the challenging journey these families face every day. We may not be able to walk a mile in their shoes, but we can certainly run a mile (or 26.2) for their lives and for the forward motion of all the young people who are creating a whole new Africa.”
Keys’s marathon-training schedule includes waking up at 5:30 a.m., meditating, getting son Egypt ready for school, and then popping baby Genesis in a running stroller to train alongside her. By 11 a.m., Keys is ready to take on the rest of the day when most of us are still bleary-eyed and downing cups of coffee to survive the morning.
“Believe me, I never thought I'd be this person either,” she continued. “You know what I mean — the ‘early-morning-schedule’ person. I always thought I was one of those people who was lucky if I could just get up, get dressed, and get out the door on time. But somehow, I'm into it. Getting up early to take care of myself physically and mentally sharpens my focus, my dedication, and my clarity.”
To read her entire essay and learn about her unexpected running play list, click here.
(Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage)