Bronx Sole Founders Justin Mashia and Pedro Rivera

The beauty of New York City is its history, it’s culture and the various communities. A “True Yorker” as our guy Mike Saes would say is one that understands the true definition and meaning of New Yorker, one that understands this city from what I like to call a spiritual standpoint. If you grew up in this city you understand this feeling as we’ve seen it at its best, its worst and in success. The running communities in the outer boroughs of New York City reflect the true heartbeats of this city. Going forward Mid Strike Magazine will spotlight these various run crews not only locally but nationally and internationally, making sure that we show the running communities what true diversity in running is and most of all giving recognition where it is due. This month we travel back to The Bronx as we spotlight Bronx Sole, founded by Justin Mashia and Pedro Rivera, Bronx Sole has shown what true representation is not only in running but community as well. 

MSM: You’re both runners, consistent ones at that. What was it that made you gravitate towards running? There’s a beauty and difficulty to this sport yet it draws in so many people and personalities.

Justin: Thanks. It’s great to meet you. I’ve always been a treadmill runner for health. It’s the only running life I knew and was comfortable with. I loved being in an air-conditioned room and being in control of my pace. I could get on a treadmill and daydream for a couple of hours, LOL. I loved the freedom of not having to dodge potholes, cars, people, or uneven streets. My friend Cassandra talked me into ditching the treadmill one day and running with her in Central Park. I dreaded it but I went. As I suspected, I hated it! The only thing that captured me was that we rounded a bend and there were all these people running in a pack. I asked her what it was and she informed me that it was a race. Being the competitive person I am, I said “I’m faster than most of these people. I want to sign up for a race.” And that is what made me gravitate toward outdoor running.  

Pedro: I got into running after I joined a boxing gym and sparred for the 1st time and was gassed after 30 seconds. I couldn’t even hold my hands up to defend myself. So, after that I decided to start running to help build my stamina. I started running at the track on my own, then started running with Nike Run Club and BridgeRunners.

MSM: Were you both born/raised in the Bronx? I ask because the city has changed so much over the years, gentrified obviously with folks that are not from the areas that we are used to. For the both of you what does it mean to be from The Bronx, the feeling of having a deeper connection to your home borough, your home? 

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