COBBLE HILL — The heat wave wasn’t enough to deter runners, skaters and bikers from finishing a 3-mile run in honor of deceased skater Harold Hunter on Thursday evening.
A group of about 100 runners, bikers and skateboarders participated in Bridge Runner's sixth annual Harold Hunter Run. Participants met up at the Lower East Side Skate Park in Manhattan, ran across the Manhattan Bridge, and severed the finish line at Homage, a skateboard shop located at 64 Bergen St.
"Legends never die, and that's something that stuck with Harold from when he passed in 2006," said Michelle Sauer, an owner of Homage. "He is a New York City legend in his own right, as a person, as a skateboarder, as a piece of New York City history."
Harold Hunter was a popular skateboarder in New York City, at least among his fellow boarders, Sauer said. Hunter died of a heart attack at age 31 on February 17, 2006, but his friends and fans haven't forgetten his charm, she noted.
Sauer traced her background back to when she worked with Hunter. She said she met him when they were both working at Zoo York, a shop for skateboards and accessories, in 2001. She was working as a designer and he was a pro-skater for the company, Sauer said.
"He was just a character," Sauer said. "He'd eat all our lunches, he'd have a chicken wing in his pocket that he might pull out when he wanted a snack. There's no one like Harold in the world."
For the sixth year in a row, Bridge Runners, a group of Nike-sponsored runners based in New York City, have brought Hunter fans from across the city together for a run in his honor. This year, the run was scheduled to coincide with Go Skateboarding Day, an international observance that falls on June 21 every year.
The run focuses on raising money for the Harold Hunter Foundation, a fund dedicated to providing skateboarding opportunities for children. For the occasion, each athlete wore a black shirt with the name Harold Hunter scrawled across the back and front, in honor of the LES-born skater.
"He wasn't the best skateboarder, he wasn't the fastest, he didn't do the greatest tricks, but it was who he was and how he was with people," Sauer said. "Harold always made you smile and laugh. He took the time to do that. He loved being with the kids. He was just a legend."
Homage was the set of the after-party, and this year, the shop designed the graphics and t-shirts for the event. All proceeds of t-shirt sales went to the Hunter Foundation, and so far, Homage and Bridge Runners have worked together to raise at least $2,800 for the charity.
As the participants — on foot, on four wheels, or two — crossed the finish line, they whooped and hollered in celebration as passersby stopped to watch. Temperatures were in the mid-90s on Thursday evening, but many of the runners seemed unfazed by the muggy heat.
“I feel good,” said Mason Grassfield, a native of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who was still red in the face from running. "You get to a point of desperation, and you either pass out or you feel good.”
Harold Hunter t-shirts will continue to be sold at Homage until supplies run out, said the owner. Each shirt costs $25 and all proceeds will go to the Harold Hunter Foundation.