Bronx resident Kevin Hyde has fond memories of his childhood when he and his brother assisted their father, their Boy Scout troop leader, at his water stand on the marathon route on Fifth Avenue in Harlem.
“Every first Sunday in November I was on the corner in a Boy Scout uniform and a poncho handing out water,” Hyde recalled.
The shoe will be on the other foot next month when the 49-year-old University Heights resident will be one of more than 50,000 runners to cross the starting line on Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island in the TCS New York City Marathon.
I can’t wait for this day to hurry up and come,” said Hyde, a teacher at Brooklyn School For Law and Technology. “I have one more long run, 18 to 20 miles, this weekend and then I taper.”
After his father and brother passed away, Hyde continued the tradition of distributing water with his students while he worked at Automotive High School in Brooklyn at the 13th mile mark.
Some of those students will be returning to see their former teacher run, he said.
“Those students are now in their 30s, and they are planning to be at Automotive to hand out water. They are coming from as far away as North Carolina to stand out there, just so they can be the ones to give me water.”
Hyde will also be running with fellow teachers from another former school he taught at, Brooklyn High School of the Arts.
Hyde runs across the borough and beyond with three different running clubs: Harlem Run, Black Men Run, and Lean Strong Fast, as well as with his girlfriend, an avid marathon runner.
He said he has made many friends with fellow members, and found himself a part of a larger community.
“There are a lot of people I know from the running community but I have no idea who they actually are,” he said laughing. “They’ll just give a quick hand wave to say ‘hi’.”
Dedication and discipline has been the key to getting into a position to run a marathon, he said.
Hyde now gets up early in the morning before work to rack up miles, but said his first year of running was spent overcoming injuries.
“I had a year’s worth of injuries,” he said. “I broke a bone in my foot and had cartilage damage in my knee. Every time I got started rolling, I would break down.”
Hyde said that while he was looking forward to the experience, he knew there would be constant reminders of his earlier years that would conjure all sorts of memories.
“I know there will be certain places that I will be an emotional wreck - Automotive High School is one, Brooklyn High School of the Arts is another,” Hyde said.
“And when I get to Harlem where I grew up, I’ll have all the memories of watching the marathon and giving out water with my father and brother and my friends. From 135th and Fifth all the way to the finish line is a big portion of my life,” he added.