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Runners at the Portland Waterfront waiting for Kevin Hart

Image: Katie Vaughan

Much to the annoyance of some BTA challenge bikers on the Portland Waterfront this morning, hundreds of runners showed up at sunrise for a chance to run alongside funnyman Kevin Hart, star of Ride Along and Get Hard.

The famously short comedian (he's 5'4") performs September 11 at the Moda Center as part of his “What Now” tour. But Hart teamed up with Nike to host a free 5K at stops along his tour. His press people allowed us two minutes to ask him questions before the run started, and we made the most of it.

Our first question: It's 6:30 in the morning. Why are you doing this?

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“I want to motivate people,” he said. “You get one body; I choose to take care of mine. It’s great motivation for me because if I stop, I let a lot of people down so I have to finish. Most importantly, it’s the people. There’s always a turn in the run where I can see how many people came out and it makes me smile. It’s pretty amazing. The #hustlehart movement is real!”

The motivation seems to be working, as many in the crowd were not hard-core runners and fitness junkies but comedy fans. When Hart asked who amongst the crowd was a first time 5k-er, a significant number of hands went up.

“This is not a race," he said. "It’s not about who finishes first or last. It’s about everybody here completing the 5k. I do not leave until everybody crosses the finish line.” True to his word, he camped out at the finish line offering high-fives and encouragement.

Hart has performed in Portland in years past but this morning was his first run along our beloved waterfront.

“I love it here, I love the West Coast. Great weather and you can’t beat the people.”

If you missed out on running with Hart, you can watch him telling jokes tonight at the Moda Center at 7:00pm. Tickets are still available at ticketmaster.com.

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