Like so many friendships made in our time, I first met Ray Hailes on Instagram. He was part of the week 2 group of runners who took part in Nike’s Montauk Project, a life-changing couple of days that a handful of New Yorkers got to experience in East Hampton.
I was part of week 3, the final week, and in the days and weeks preceding my trip, I’d seen posts featuring the hashtag, #MontaukProject, many of which came from Ray’s IG, along with others who’d been sharing pics of the epic training sessions, runs on the beach and latest Nike shoes they’d scored. Ray and I, along with the others who were lucky enough to attend, bonded over this experience that left such a great impact on us (so much so, he and his friend Eric got tattoos of the Montauk co-ordinates), knowing that we’d be forever changed by the insight and lessons learnt, rather than all the cool free stuff we got.
In this episode of The Rundown, Ray talks about how running shaped his early life in NYC, moving here ten years ago from Texas by way of Chicago. He talks about having sickle cell and how that impacts is running. Along the way, he takes me on a route that starts at the famous Brill Building, where many a hit song was recorded back in the day, (and still is home to studios and labels), to the place where he met his best friend and fellow Resident Runners co-founder, Eric Blevens, at West NYC.
For more on Ray and Resident Runners, visit their site, and join them on Thursday night runs – or one of their monthly taco runs!