Kevin Hart, comedian turned marathon hopeful, can't turn back now

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Hart shows the many faces of a marathon (0:25)

Kevin Hart demonstrates the various stages the runners of the New York Marathon might experience with the corresponding faces. (0:25)

What was one thing on Kevin Hart's life list? A marathon. Because, why not? We sat down with the comedian to discuss why he wanted to train for the New York City Marathon and why he's running for more than just fun. Watch the interview here.

ESPN: What inspired you to run your first marathon?

Kevin Hart: The fact that I've never done it. The fact that this is a major goal that could be accomplished and that could be checked off the life list of Kevin Hart. I think there's a lot more that goes into a marathon than just the run. It's the experience. It's the mental toughness. It's the feeling of being invincible to a certain point. The fact that I put my mind to something and did it is what it's about. It's more of a life accomplishment for me.

ESPN: You've been calling this marathon your "moon shot," what does that mean?

KH: Moon shot is something that's so high and so unbelievable. And you shoot for it. Nine times out of 10 you shoot for things like that but you don't know if you're ever going to get to it or hit it. Only the people that really believe and see that they can do what others can never imagine them doing are the ones that accomplish those things. That's why the term moon shot is only ever used by so few. I want to be a part of that group. I want to make history. I want my name to shine. And the best way to do that is shoot for the moon.

ESPN: You're shooting for the moon and doing it for a good cause. Tell me about your charity Help From the Hart and why it's so important for you to run for a cause.

KH: The name speaks for itself. It was started because I do so much and I know that I do it for other sources. I've done it for other causes and other people. With my platform, there's no reason I couldn't do it with my platform; there's no reason why I couldn't do it under my umbrella. Help From the Hart kind of covers everything. At this particular point in time, it's youth and education. I want to provide those opportunities for households that may not afford it. I want to give out scholarships and step up to the plate. It's been about nine or 10 days and we've already reached our goal of $300,000. When it's all said and done, you can look back and say, "I helped. I did things to give back." I've done a lot with my career, but it's time for my humanitarian side to catch up to the entertainer.

ESPN: How have you been training for the marathon?

KH: I hate to say this because I don't want people to take this the wrong way, but there's a high level of winging it for me. I'm a guy that went from running a 5K and then to jump and shoot for the moon and run a marathon is unreal. But, the reason why I wanted to do it is to do it in a way to show the world that it's me putting my mind to something. I'll figure it out. Not everyone has the money for the high-profile trainer or the high-profile running coach; some of us just have a heart and strong mind and the will and want to achieve what we set our minds to. I want to be an example of that. So, it was me running four times a week anywhere from the range of five to eight miles throughout the week and doing my long runs on Sundays. My long runs are always on Sunday, and they vary from 12 to 15 miles. There was one day where I did 18 where it was just being consistent with the longer run. Throwing hills in there during the week, trying to do five to six miles on hills because I knew it was hilly [in NYC]. I was just mixing it up.

ESPN: What kind of obstacles have you faced while training on tour?

KH: The time. I don't have the time. My workdays on set are 14-hour days. I'm touring on the weekends and those shows start at 7 p.m. or 10 p.m., so my time gets cut up so much. What I've learned is that you make time for things that you want to make time for; you prioritize. The one thing that is never in question with time is my family: my wife and my kids. I make time. Same thing with this training, I want to achieve this goal. So, on those long days, it just becomes the fact of "Kevin, you know you have to get up and train and get after it. Get out of bed. You have to just do it because there's no excuse. That excuse doesn't get through the door unless you open it."

ESPN: How have your fans motivated you during this journey?

KH: Unbelievable. I feel like I have the best support group ever. I don't even like to use the word "fan." I love saying supporters because it's a support group. It's a support system. That's why I'm so adamant in returning my level of support, my level of encouragement, motivation and inspiration. I do as much as I can in talking to my support group because, ultimately, without that support group, I don't have the platform and ability to do things that I do. So, to see people tell me, "Kev, I got up and ran today because you inspired me." To see, "Ay Kev, I know it's Sunday runday." I made Sunday runday a thing. It's a new thing. If I don't [run], they get on me. It's real. I have thousands of people on my Nike Run App and they don't allow you to have those days off. I love the fact that they've been checking on me and staying true to what I've set out on to do.

ESPN: Do you expect to see your supporters at the race tomorrow?

KH: I'm sure I will have a lot of people out there with some signs and showing different levels of support. What they've done is make it tough for me to quit. You know, I thought about going home [once I got to New York]. There was a point where I thought about getting on a plane at some point today and just going home. Reality kicked in and I'm like, "I'm here now. I got to do it. Whoa. Whoa. It's real." I had a bunch of excuses ready, but I'm going to go through with it because I'm not a coward.

ESPN: What are you most looking forward to when you finally complete the race? What are you going to do after that?

KH: Once I complete the race and I cross the finish line, the first thought will be, "What am I going to do next?" I don't have a plan, but I will figure it out. I always figure it out. I feel like running puts you in a position to bring people closer together. I am a comedian, all over the globe, I bring people closer together to laugh. No matter what, any and everything that I have my hand in ultimately brings people closer together. From movies to comedies to fitness, health and wellness, it's all about bringing people together. Different races, shapes, sizes. As long as I can do that at the highest level, I am happy. I am fulfilling my calling. I am doing my duty in this world for our generation, for the generation to come. I am about evolvement. I am about positivity. I am about love. However I can distribute that, I will do it. Running has put me in a position to distribute it on such a dope, dope platform that I think it's only going to spread. I think it's only going to become global. And with the support of my brand, with the support of my friends and family, this thing can get as big as we want it to. I can continue to run for whatever our world desires. I can continue to run for whatever the needs of society are. I can run for our generation. There are so many different things that people can be a part of and that I can help with. And running is a platform for it. It gets as big as you allow me to get.