top of page

Running Like Casey Neistat

Between 2015 and 2016, Casey Neistat released more than 534 daily vlogs. I saw him hundreds of times running on my screen, most of the time at Hudson River Park in Manhattan. Then, I decided it was my time to run like Casey in New York.
Casey Neistata Hudson River Park

New York, New York. If the 50s had Frank Sinatra, the 60s had Andy Warhol and the 80s had Gordon Gecko. The last 10 years had Casey Neistat. Nobody as the American Youtuber embraced New York as a reason to live.


If you are here, you probably already know Casey and his life: Candice, the girls, 368, moving to LA, and moving back to New York. This is why I will not give you a summary of his biography because it is all on Youtube. So, do your research on this amazing human.


During his multi-year run of daily vlogs, Casey told the story of the most famous city in the world, where everyone’s dreams can become true, together with his. Subscribers increased vlog after vlog, day after day. Millions of viewers were waiting for the notification announcing the new video. The 10 minutes of our days dedicated to his life. I was part of the cult that watched all of them.


I grew up with him, his projects, and his family. He became part of my daily routine. Ours was a one-way friendship: he knew nothing about me, while I knew everything about him. His problems were mine for those 10 minutes. I became an expert in his daily routine: get ready, get on the Boosted Board, go to the studio, stroll around the city, meet a friend, bump into random strangers who turn into smiling faces, take a plane, and review a hotel room. On and on for 534 times. But before everything, a solid run in the morning.

Casey runs towards the camera. Casey says something quick about his day and sets the tone with the right opening line for today's video. Casey runs away. Aaaaand, cut. Casey picks up his phone from the bench and finishes the run.


This is the most recurring scene you can find across all of Casey’s vlogs. It can be anywhere: in the middle of the city, in a park, on the beach, in the US or around the world, or in New York - most of the time up and down Hudson River Park in West Manhattan.


Running is an addiction for Casey. Every day is out for a run in the morning if he is home or whenever he can when he is traveling - running is the best way to explore a city right after you have arrived, quick and easy. He hasn’t always been like this for him back in the day.


The ones who were part of the cult know that he had a serious accident that injured his leg very badly. He was told he would have never gone back running. From that moment, he did everything to prove that verdict wrong. And he made it. Not long after he completed his first triathlon and then many more, with excellent results in his category, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, ran the New York Marathon five times with a PR of 3:03:27 and ran 4 marathons in 7 days in 2018. An extraordinary journey from the bottom and an exemplification of his mantra “Do More”.

With everything said, Casey is not famous because he runs. He has never released a video about his training plan, favorite running shoes, or the best gel on the market right now. He runs a lot in his videos: in and out of his studio, to catch a flight, or simply because he is late. He does not refer to running as a constant journey to improve his pace for the next marathon through a rigorous workout schedule.


Running is simple for Casey. It is part of his daily life like breakfast, going to sleep, and thousands of other small habits. There are no complaints about it. Windy, rainy, and snowy. If it is part of your well-being. Running 6 fast miles every morning before sunrise thinking about the next video or listening to some good content. This is running for Casey.


casey neistat instagram story new york
Casey Neistat Running at Hudson River Park

My approach to running is very similar to Casey’s, except that I am not a morning person. I don’t follow a rigorous plan and don’t care about tampering before a race or eating always the right food during the week. Just thinking about the perfectionism that can lie behind the simple act of running makes me anxious. Running is part of my days. It is a way to push myself to new limits and see if I can do it.


In 2022, I traveled to New York twice and I decided I wanted to run like Casey at least once. Same time of the day. Same place.

strava activity hudson river park

I got up early and layered enough to beat a cold October morning. Then I went out. Running in the morning in Manhattan might be the easiest thing to do. The geometry of its streets makes it so easy to navigate. If you want to go to Hudson River Park, you just run to the West. When you see the water, you have arrived. There are not many cars around at that time so you can speed up at each crossroad too.

casey neistat hudons river park
Morning View from Pier 46

Hudson River Park is less famous and glamorous than Central Park. The park covers the 6.5 kilometers between Pier 25 and Pier 97 or between N Moore St and W 57th St. You run by the water almost the whole course and it can get pretty windy. It can barely be considered a park: its green spaces fill the thin void between the skyscrapers and the water of the Hudson River. You pass many piers, logistics facilities, parking lots, a ski rink, the curious Little Island, and tennis courts but not many trees and trails.

Being and not being a park is what makes Hudson River Park the perfect running path in New York. You can feel the city while you run there together with other new yorkers that will start coming out around 7 am to train for their next race. All the skyscrapers are just across West St and waking up with you.


Then, there is the best part. When you run towards Lower Manhattan you can admire the best view in town. Right in front of you, there is the Freedom Tower and all the buildings in lower Manhattan. While getting closer to Tribeca, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island appear on the river. All of this with a sunrise light. Hudson River Park makes you feel what New York City is about if you grew up consuming pop culture and American content on TV and social media like me.

statue of liberty from hudson river park
Zoom in to see the Statue of Liberty

If this would be my local running path would I be out there every morning like I did on holiday? Probably not. What is unique as tourists, it quickly becomes normal when you have it every day - still, Hudson River Park helps. Even if it is normal for him, Casey still gets out there every day: No days off. For him is not about where you do it but why you do it.


Running is solitary, just your body and your mind - which fight most of the time. During those 6 miles you have time to go through a full year of your life, jump from A to Z and come back, decide your next move, scrutinize every what-if of your life, and realize you are not doing as bad as you thought after all. Then, take a shower and tackle your real life with a different attitude. I like to think that the act of running is what brings Casey to peace with himself and keeps him in balance and positive every day as it does for me.

Comments


bottom of page