26.2 Miles. 14 Bridges. 1 Inspired Community. 

Altra R.E.D. Team Ambassador Kai Ng sees a finish line. 

Join him in reaching it. Here, he reflects on AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) Heritage Month and how he uses running to strengthen his community. 

With races canceled due to the pandemic, many runners found purpose and voice in their run. Like many others, Kai found himself moved by their efforts and made it a mission to provide coaching support to athletes who are running for the greater good.

One of those athletes is Leland who witnessed local businesses in Chinatown struggling and closing due to the pandemic and xenophobia. Hear from Kai on Leland’s story and his commitment toward a more inclusive running community.



Altra R.E.D. Team member Kai Ng with a group of runners who joined him in doing a Bridgeathon in New York City in February.



Leland reached out and signed up for my Running Form Program last November to prepare for his second—and hopefully improved—12-hour running challenge fundraiser. (His first was back in May of the same year.) He challenged himself to run as many miles as possible within a 12-hour window. I joined him in his second go-around for the last three hours to help push him to 62 miles to help raise a total of more than $50,000 between the two events.

Just a month later, Leland reached out to me again to see if I would join him in another crazy idea he had: a marathon ran on only bridges on Lunar New Year Day to support local businesses in Chinatown and take a stand to stop Asian hate crimes. We called this marathon challenge The Bridgeathon. The challenge is to run a marathon circling the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge seven times. Of course, If it’s for my athletes or the community the answer will always be yes. So, at 9:00 AM on February 20th, we set out to cover 26.2 miles, crossing over 14 bridges, and climbing 1,600 feet of elevation.

As the sun and temperatures rose on that warm winter day, we had to deal with something we did not prepare for during training: six-foot-long icicles falling from the top of the bridges. In hindsight, that was really dangerous, and I guess maybe we should have considered stopping. But I think our adrenaline was high and our purpose was clear, so we kept going.



Kai Ng and a group of runners crossing a bridge in New York City during a Bridgeathon on February 2021.



Even though that situation was a hinderance to our mission, we also had tremendous support from our friends and family and the community—local Asian non-profit organization Apex for Youth and their board members, the legendary urban running crew Bridgerunners and their founder, Mike Saes, the Silly Goose Adventure Club and their founder, and many others—all joined, coming all the way from Pennsylvania any beyond to join us for a couple of miles to take a stand with us.

I recently spoke about this at an event hosted by Racial Healing Hub and Harlem Wellness Center in Harlem. The urban running community has been and is currently healing racism. Here in New York City, people from all over the world have been meeting after work every week, greeting each other in different languages, sharing miles, then having ramen together.

Like Power Malu of Running to Protest says, “We may be diverse, but we are not divided,” and that’s how it should be in our world. I understand that reaching racial justice and equality is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint. But, like the famous African proverb said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

If we want to get there, we all must keep running and keep running together and I will do everything in my power to support them and keep them safe and healthy.

I can see the finish line already.


About the Author: Run Coach Kai is a USATF and RRCA Level I and II certified running coach based in Brooklyn, New York City. For the past eight years, Kai has been coaching thousands of everyday people to encourage them to start running in his Running Form Program. Since running his first 800-meter race at eight years old, Kai has completed more than 55 races and more than 15 marathons. He is “On a mission to holding your hand through your first run all the way to running your best marathon.” You can learn more about him at www.runcoachkai.com or on Instagram: @runcoachkai