Know Your Crew is our ongoing series documenting the crews and groups from around the world shaping the culture of running.
In 2016, Bronx native Miguel Hernandez noticed two things while running around his neighborhood: The first was that he wasn’t coming across any other runners. Unlike other boroughs where runner flybys were common, according to Hernandez, “There was nobody else out there running.”
The second thing he noticed was that people on the street would do a double-take whenever he ran by them, as if they had never seen a person exercising out in public before. This prompted Hernandez to research the health statistics in the Bronx, which showed that the Bronx had ranked dead last among 62 New York counties in an annual health report.
“It made me think, ‘How do I help change this—the health landscape of the Bronx?’” he says. “How do I help change this narrative?” Hernandez decided that his love of running was the answer and Mile Style was born.
We recently spoke to Hernandez about his aspirations to grow Mile Style and better serve the people in his community who want to become more active and better runners.
Bandit: Where did the name Mile Style come from?
Miguel Hernandez: I wanted something that didn’t have the word “running” in it because that word can be intimidating to people, especially in the Bronx. That being said, I wanted the name to be running related. I started with “Mile”, a palatable distance for entrants to the sport, and paired it with a word that rolled off the tongue and connoted fun - "Style." I also intentionally left "Bronx" out of the name; I want everyone to be able to feel like they can come through.
Bandit: What was your plan to promote Mile Style in the Bronx?
MH: The first couple of runs, there wasn't much promotion. It was just four or five of my friends getting together. With every week, new people would find out about us and join in. Right before Covid hit, we were getting 40-50 people coming to run. We're finally getting back into the swing of things now with 20 or more showing up weekly.
I'm hoping to get back to where we were pre-Covid. The more people we have running, the more eye-catching the group becomes, the easier it is to promote exercise in the Bronx.
I know a lot of people don’t care about numbers, but I always have. I want to see tons of people out there! I want to see what I see with other run groups in New York like Old Man Run Club, or We Run Uptown, or Brooklyn Track Club. They all have these massive groups of people that come out and run. I want that for Mile Style, but more importantly I want that for the Bronx. We have a lot of organizing to do—to get people out the door to get active.
Bandit: One of the things that differentiates Mile Style from other run crews is a focus on lifting the community out of unhealthy behaviors. Can you talk more about that?
MH: The Bronx is the most unhealthy county in the state of New York. There’s 62 counties and the Bronx is this number, 62, right? There’s actually a hashtag movement in the Bronx called #62. It’s our collective effort to get the Bronx out of last place. Part of the mission with Mile Style is to rally the community around this effort and promote running as a means for a healthier life.
Bandit: Another thing that stands out about Mile Style is that it also promotes walking. You truly welcome “all faces and paces” as your social media puts it.
MH: We have what we call our “sexy squad.” The sexy squad is part of the Mile Style group that moves at “sexy pace", 13- 14-minute miles with some light jogging combined with walking. These are men and women who aren’t necessarily as active, but they're still making the effort to get out of the house and invest in their health. That’s something that really works well for us.
Bandit: You’re also one of the cofounders of Race the Bronx, a new Bronx-based racing company. How does Mile Style help people prepare members for races?
MH: Two of Mile Style's women members who take training very seriously are creating a marathon training pilot program that we're going to implement with our team for next fall's marathons. I’m excited to see what they come up and the results that follow.
And then we also tack on workouts that focus on building mental fortitude, an imperative for any distance of racing. For instance, this past Wednesday, we chose to do a 5k in some unfavorable conditions - it was cloudy, rainy, and windy. We could have canceled, but instead we ran 400s and are now more mentally tough than we were a day prior.
Bandit: What’s the dream for Mile Style down the line?
MH: In the short term, we want to focus on our weekly runs and our goal of achieving greater community awareness. Longer term, I would love to see Mile Style turn into something larger than a weekly run group.
The Bronx doesn't have an actual specialty running store. All the other boroughs have one except for us. The dream would be to have a dedicated space Mile Style could call home and promote running out of. One part running specialty store, one part community-center. It could take another decade before this happens, but I really want to see that happen in the Bronx. And I think it’s possible. I know it’s possible.
Bandit: Any local spots you want to shoutout?
City Tamale: One of the guys who runs with us is the owner and head chef. It’s the best Mexican tamales you’ve ever had. He has vegan options, vegetarian options, and, of course, pork, beef, and chicken.
The Healthy Kitchen: As the name goes, it's very health conscious—a small café in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. The owner of the place found out about us and immediately reach out to run a couple events together. Our missions are perfectly aligned.
Boogie Down Grind: It’s a great coffee shop that we all like to go over to after our runs to chill out and socialize. They're a big part of our crew.
Mile Style Fast Facts
- Founder: Miguel Hernandez
- Formed: Summer 2016
- Home: South Bronx, New York
- Members: 20-40
- Known for: Championing health and wellness in the Bronx
- How to join: No membership necessary, just show up
- Meetups: Every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at The Point Community Development Center (940 Garrison Avenue, Bronx)