On Monday evening, the good folks over at KSWISS organized a fun run with elite marathoner Josh Cox. While I have followed his career for a few years now and we have long been "friends" via Twitter/Facebook, I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting the guy.
Josh addressing the crowd pre-run.
I showed up right at 6:30pm on the dot and was greeted by Mr. KSWISS himself, Bryan who was kind enough to hook me up with a pair of Blade Light Run's a couple of weeks back (will talk about these in a later post). Finally, I shook Josh's hand after his pre-run speech and the group of 30-40+ took off towards the beach.
With Josh and Bryan early on.
A beautiful day on the bike path.
I started off running with Bryan and then with Josh. Once we hit the Santa Monica Bike Path, he ducked in for a quick bathroom break and said he'd "catch up". Sure enough, before we made the climb up out of the pier to Palisades Park, he sidled up next to me and we'd run together from there. He's an extremely personable guy and running with him was like running with a friend you're catching up with - albeit a really, really fast friend.
Our paces were hovering around 7 minutes per mile which is near tempo pace for me, but easy conversational pace for him. I feigned like I was holding my end of the conversation without any problems but I was definitely hurting throughout. So I kept lobbing questions so he could do most of the talking and thanked my lucky stars when we'd hit a red light.
Talking to a fan at a stoplight.
Matching Blade Light Runs.
Now some have questioned just how much he puts himself out there, but the dude is making it happen. He's been making a living out of doing what he loves for 10+ years and inspiring others to do the same. Not to mention his charitable efforts to help children in need in Africa. I have tremendous respect for that. We talked about everything from races he has coming up, his experience at Comrades Marathon earlier this year, the Olympic Trials and ultrarunning among many other things (he's won a 50-miler and paced David Horton for almost 50 miles at arguably one of the hardest 100's out there, Hardrock 100).
At the turnaround.
Back at the KSWISS store.
We did the 2.5+ miles to the totem pole before turning around and added a little when I took him on a wrong turn down Main St. Once we were back, Josh spoke for a few minutes about Comrades, his charity efforts through Team Worldvision and fielded some questions from the crowd.
It's not often you get to run side-by-side with a 2:13 marathoner/50K American record holder. And I relished every second of it, burning legs/lungs and all. Thanks for taking it easy on me Josh - nice to finally meet ya!