Travis Barker Fosters Community With Inaugural Run Travis Run 5K in Los Angeles

Shortly after the inaugural Run Travis Run 5K race began in the parking lot of Inglewood’s Kia Forum, my mission became evident: I couldn’t let Travis Barker lap me. I’d already conceded that he would beat me, that was a given. One look at his loping gait in the Forrest Gump-inspired launch video for his run club showed that he was in far better shape than me, a year removed from my 11th marathon and (literally) kneecapped by an injury that persists. Still, him pulling a whole lap ahead of me on the three-lap course was not an option, for no other reason than my ego.

For Barker, though, the run wasn’t about petty competition — surely not with me or anyone, really, other than himself. “I run every day before a show, [just] not this intense,” he tells me after the race, which he finished in 22 minutes. (I completed it in 28, in case you were wondering, and no, in the end, he didn’t lap me.) “My goal is to just come here and chill, to do an easy run, but of course I didn’t.”

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It’s an overcast Saturday morning in Los Angeles, and he’s assembled the first Run Travis Run race at the Forum, just across the street from SoFi Stadium where his band Blink-182 will play to a sold-out, 70,000-person crowd later that night as part of its current One More Time tour. The event, a 5K race and a wellness expo spread across the lot, welcomed just north of 800 finishers and established a sense of community, bringing together seasoned runners, Blink fans and a combination of both to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of L.A. and New York.

This past weekend’s event was the first of two planned 5K runs the morning of a Blink show, with a second scheduled for Queens, New York on July 21. On Saturday, Barker arrived 10 minutes past the race’s start time with his wife Kourtney Kardashian Barker, who walked the course alongside two companions as a cameraman in a golf cart rolled next to them, capturing footage for Hulu’s “The Kardashians.”

“We met and we were friends and we got close because we used to work out together, way before we were ever together romantically,” says Travis of Kourtney. “So that was our one common thing. We were really into wellness and we would work out. So we walk probably three or four miles a day right now, and then I’ll do runs because she’s not running yet so she’s walking. But she’s a good runner. My wife’s a beast when it comes to working out, she sticks with it.”

Musicians arranging run clubs is nothing new — Diplo launched his own a few months ago, promising DJ sets after races — but Barker leveraging his fame to inspire fitness among fans had a tangible effect at the Forum. Some were very clearly competitive runners (Irvine’s Tim Reed finished in first place, just under 16 minutes), while others were very clearly trying out running for the first time. A sea of Blink-182 tees dotted the crowd as runners and walkers looped around the lot. One man ran in Birkenstocks without socks; a woman completed the course dressed like the nurse from Blink-182’s “Enema of the State” album cover; two people ran completely decked out in furry costumes, and another guy had a lifesized inflatable alien clinging to his back.

For Barker, though, running is a lifestyle. It’s as engrained in his schedule as eating or sleeping, and keeps him accountable to staying sober. He battled a painkiller addiction for years, up until he survived a plane crash in 2008, and wellness swiftly became a priority for him. “Running came into my life to help me become sober years ago, and I found out I was having my son around the same time and I started running, I started boxing, started being more conscious of my health,” he explains. “And then I got addicted to it. And anytime I wanted to stop smoking, it always countered the smoking. It was always the thing I did to stop doing any of the bad things.”

That, plus there’s a level of aerobics necessary to maintain stamina for shows. At SoFi Stadium later that evening, Barker toggled between a stationary platform and a hovering podium while blasting his drum kit for a solid 90 minutes, taking a moment at the start of each song to tuck his drumsticks behind his head, elbows in the air, before assaulting his instrument.

“Even though I’ve [drummed] for however many years since I was four years old, if I want to be great while I’m out there and not have to think about anything, or if there’s anything that comes to my head that I want to do live, I can pull it off if I’m in shape,” he says. “So I always stay there so I don’t have to get there.”

With that, attendees at the first Run Travis Run event congregated in the finish area, refueling with bananas and taking a dip in the ice baths. Barker is envisioning his goals for the rest of the year — he ran a half-marathon on New Year’s Eve, and he wants to do a full one by year’s end — with the hope of creating a space for runners to share in his love of running, one race at a time.

“I figure I run three miles every day anyway so I might as well have everyone come out and run with me. And raise money for charity,” he says. “I wish I could do it every day. I wish every day of the tour I had another 5K.”

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