Maalik Murray Progress and Progression

MSM: We’ve been following along with your journey over the years and it's impressive as you essentially gotten better. Your vibe gives off that silent assassin vibe that works in the shadows then drops the hammer on race day, we’ll get to that later but for now let's get an intro into Malik the runner?

Maalik: First off, I want to say this is very exciting and quite a privilege to be a spotlight on Mid Strike Magazine! Thank you for following me and tracking my progress. "Silent Assassin" I like the sound of that! I started running in 2020. I am a runner from Queens, NY. I started running solo then later joined the NYC running community. A native New Yorker who has ran two major marathons (NYC & Boston) and three total (Philadelphia). I also ran several half marathons, one-mile races, 10Ks and 5Ks. Running from borough to borough and city to city whether for races, trail, group, and solo runs. When it comes to training, I like to put my head down and grind with no frills. On race day I am ready to go and leave it all out there. 

MSM: How did you fall into running, I like to use the word fall because we really don’t go looking for it unless we have the background from our younger years, usually it’s an action that causes us to want to try it then eventually fall in love with it?

Maalik: I fell into running during the pandemic. I usually play basketball but with social distancing staying 6' apart and NYC Parks taking down all the rims across the city, running was the best option. I always had an active body, so my body must move constantly whether it's playing basketball, running, baseball you name it I have to move. So, I stuck with running because I can run by myself. I got pretty good at it, so I continued. I use running to remain creative: choosing different routes, sightseeing, and wearing fly gear. It’s also cathartic in that it relieves stress which is very healthy too. Running around my native Southeast Queens is refreshing seeing the people of my community smiling, waving, and cheering me on as I go on solo runs is a bonus as well. Listening to my favorite music artists while I run as a soundtrack to my solo runs adds to my love of the sport. 

MSM: You have a few races under your belt and I’m sure you’re 6 star chasing also that 4:58 5th avenue mile last year……WHEW, i just felt the need to drop that number here because its hella impressive. What have been some of your favs through the years and now that we’re approaching marathon season, what do you have that’s upcoming?

Maalik: I'm going to savor achieving my 6 stars. I currently have two (NYC & Boston). I will be looking forward to traveling to the other cities and seeing what challenges lay ahead in those courses. The Sub-5 Mile that was a product of my training for the Philly marathon. My coach Derrick Isaac gave me a training program that I executed which prepared me for that race and many others in 2022. I ran the Jackson Heights Mile race shortly before the 5th Avenue Mile and did 5:08 to which Nedu told me I can do Sub 5 which gave me confidence to achieve the Sub 5 milestone. Shout out to Kevin Montalvo for hosting the Jackson Heights race and pushing me to compete in the 5th Avenue Mile. The Philly Marathon with a half hour PR stands out. Racing back in Pennsylvania where I went to school (Penn State) it felt great as I was in a Penn State themed race kit. The entire race was in freezing temperatures and windy so to fight through the cramps after mile 20 and Gatorade turned to slush due to the freezing temperatures then to PR for a half hour is a race that will always stick out to me. My first half marathon in 2020 in a Nor’easter in the beginning of December in Far Rockaway right on the beach speaks to my mental fortitude. Another race that I will cherish is when I won my first race in the Jamaica Queens 5.5K. That was very exciting because it was in my hometown of Jamaica, Queens and I even had my family in attendance. Winning the race at a time of 20:55.44. What I have next is the NYC Marathon in the coming fall.

MSM: We mentioned vibes early on and there’s a few that stands out, please correct us if we’re wrong here. The first is that quiet vibe of an assassin working in the shadows, you very seldomly drop what you are doing when it comes to training but when race day comes the proverbial hammer is indeed dropped and dropped hard, the second is you seem to be a student to the game. When I popped in for Run Hustle Run, Hustle Tuesdays you felt like you were a student to the game, a person that always looks for ways to improve and become better. 

Maalik: Silent Assassin, I like that! I think I'm going to use that moving forward. I'm terms of training I like to keep it low key just put my head down and grind hard! So come race day I'm ready to go! My mind is already set up for race day so the week leading up to the race I visualize the race and what to expect. Visualization comes from studying the course whether from reviewing the course or asking those around me experienced the race themselves from personal accounts. When I prepped for Boston, I watched YouTube videos that dissected the course from experts who ran the course. Even asking those in the running community who ran the course how they approach the course. 

Speaking to the student of the game I am the same way with basketball. That was my first sport so I always study all the legends so that must have transferred to running. Studying the sport to see how to improve my game and learn the culture of the sport. I'm relatively new to the game but I'm still growing so I have a lot to learn. 

MSM: To become better and to be a student of the game usually means that a person is inspired by many. Who are some of your inspirations that gives you the drive to become a better person from both a personal and professional level?

Maalik: I have to go with the GOAT Michael Jordan. Watching how he dominated the game overcoming challenge after challenge. Seeing how hard he trained and pushed himself to surpass obstacles in the playoffs to reach his goal the Finals. Changing his style of play to incorporate more of his teammates when the triangle was implemented to help his team win. Even him professionally being a billionaire is another motivating factor too. I don't know about reaching a billion but seeing him become a billionaire. Owning an NBA franchise, having stake in Nike due to the Jordan brand and his other business ventures. 

MSM: The cool part about you is I find that you interact with everyone in a positive way. To some that type of conversing goes a very long way when it comes to how that person’s day is going. Usually that’s not something one just picks up. That’s a trait that’s learnt at a very tender age. Which means you’ve had some very caring inspiring folks growing up. Who are some of the folks that helped you build those foundations along the way? 

Maalik: I'm very family oriented. I always spend time with my family members from every generation speaking to them with respect and just being genuine. I come from a very close family both of my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins we all look out for each other. These are some values that were instilled in me as a kid. As I grew those values evolved with me.  I also like to treat others how I want to be treated. 

MSM: You know, I have to put this out there, Coach Leek has a ring to it. Being a person that is a sponge of information usually leads to reciporating that info back out to others. 

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