Kenneth Pinckney and the birth of LiveRunBoundless
By Henry Howard
Kenneth Pinckney is a late bloomer when it comes to running. But he is making up for lost time now by sharing his passion for the sport through his podcast, YouTube channel, social media and a new book, “The Hills We Climb.”
His journey is laid out to inspire runners of all types through his LiveRunBoundless network.
It wasn’t until he joined the Navy at age 31 when a fitness test, including a mile-long run, led him to running.
“It was terrible,” he recalls. “I had weight issues and years later in my first few years in the Navy Reserve, I failed my Navy weigh-in in 2013. That was my wake-up call to change.”
Pinckney joined the Bonita Road Runners, near his home in San Diego. “To see my transformation, how I got better at running and being around like-minded people that enjoy running and the sufferfest of running trails and hills, lots of hills, got me hooked. I started this journey of running.”
There is seemingly no stopping him now. In this Q&A, we talk about his love of trail running, his new book and more.
Question: What does trail running mean to you?
Answer: “Wow! Trail running means so many things to me and it has evolved for me over the years. I started out running roads a little or running around a park. Then a friend told me about other places I could run, specifically one trail that I call my playground for the past few years in Bonita Sweetwater campsite. The love of getting away from the noise of life, meditation, get my thoughts together, and pushing myself physically and mentally up those hills. I love the trail running community. I love the smell of the dirt, being out in nature. I love going out on the trails, to stop and take notice of my surroundings, the joy of seeing rabbits out on the trails, something so simple. I enjoy getting out early in the morning and running up the hills, reaching to the top, seeing the sun come out and seeing the view of the city out on the trails.”
Question: Who or what inspires you?
Answer: “I don’t believe one single person inspires me. The past few years, especially a few months before Covid, before I started LiveRunBoundless, I started listening to different podcasts/Youtube channels like Rich Roll, Ed Mylett, Les Brown, ET the hip hop preacher, Jay Shetty and others. I listened to the people they interviewed, telling their stories of who they were before becoming the people they are now. Hearing their stores, their journey, the process to getting to where they are. Hearing the stories of people overcoming obstacles and challenges in their lives, climbing the hills of life inspire me. Also seeing people that are older, in their 60s or 70s still getting out there in staying active, moving, enjoying life inspire me to keep going. A couple of people come to mind, one lady I called Mama Tina, her energy, her joy, still being out there in the running community. Another person, George Greco, is still out there living life, doing 50-mile races in his 70s. Seeing other people, my skin color or African American out on the trails.”
Question: Tell me about where Live Run Boundless came from. What's the inspiration in that saying?
Answer: “It starts out with Boundless. The reason for boundless, I am a big sports fan; basketball, football. In those sports, you have boundaries. In trail running, there are no boundaries. Trails seem like they could go on and on. Run, that was easy. Live. We live. We run. We are boundless or we live to run. Also in life, you could be boundless, not limit yourself, to dream, to overcome, continue climbing, to continue running to your goals and be boundless.”
Question: Unfortunately there are few Black endurance athletes. We can all do more to encourage more representation in the sport. As a Black man, what would you recommend to improve the number of Blacks and other minority runners in our sport?
Answer: “The best thing I probably could do and I have done, is using my platform and social media outlet to share the joy I have in trail running to the Black community. As I continue to grow my social media, my goal is to connect and partner with different companies, to get sponsorship, people that could or would support my vision, goal to reach out to the BIPOC community. Right now there is work in progress with the board of directors from Western States and the DEI committee to talk about how we can bring more diversity to trail running communities.”
Question: What led you to decide to write a book?
Answer: “When I first started LiveRunBoundless, my website, I had a short bio of myself. Also over the past couple of years, interviewing people, hearing the stories, their journey of life and people asking about my story just sharing a little bit of my journey with others to inspire others people. Maybe one of the biggest things was a few runners who I had interviewed had books that they were releasing. I was talking about their books on my podcast and the idea maybe it is time to tell my story of becoming Boundless, sharing my story of climbing the hills of life.”
Question: What generally is the book about?
Answer: “The book (Amazon link) is about my journey in life from where I was born and raised up to where I am right now. My life, just like everyone else, has different chapters in life. I believe that people need hope, to be inspired, to believe what is possible. I need to be inspired, I need hope, I have been shown what is possible in my life, but it has taken me learning and growing and to keep climbing those hills of life to reach that peak. After I reach one peak, I will still need to keep climbing and reach another peak.”
Name: Kenneth Pinckney
Hometown: Born in Hemingway, S.C., now lives in San Diego.
Number of years running: “Since 2013, putting in the work.”
How many miles a week do you typically run: “If I am not training for any races, 37 miles a week.”
Point of pride: Pride of gratitude, to get out and move my body, to run, be out on the trails.
Favorite race distance: “Current time, 50K, looking to run more miles.”
Favorite pre-race or training food/drink: “I really don’t have a favorite pre-race meal maybe potatoes, white rice, avocado, ginger ale.”
Favorite piece of gear: Hoka shoes.
Who inspires you: “In running, hearing people's stories of overcoming, the back of the pack runners, people in the Golden Hour of Western States, fighting to cross the finish line and not giving up.”
Favorite or inspirational song to run to: Does not apply.
Favorite or inspirational mantra/phrase: “Love it, hate it embrace It. the phase I use a lot when I am out on the trails, running those crazy hills.”
Where can other runners connect or follow you:
• Instagram: Live_Run_Boundless
• YouTube: LiveRunBoundless