For Ashton Kutcher’s first marathon — and perhaps his last — there was only one option: New York City.
Running a marathon has been a lifelong goal for Kutcher, and the opportunity arose when Thorn, a nonprofit technology company he co-founded, became a marathon charity partner in 2012. “In my mind, the marathon is always in New York City,” he said in an interview days before the race.
Actor Kutcher recalls moving to Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen when he was 19. “I’ve got a hundred dollars and a Boy Scout duffel bag and a Swiss Army Knife,” he said. “I called my dad and said, ‘I’m not going home.'” From there, the city became a “springboard” for his life and career.
Decades later, he was delighted to see the streets lined with spectators as he joined thousands of runners in Sunday’s marathon. “I think it’s the guts and passion shown,” Kutcher said of the game, because “everyone has a cause, everyone has a thing.”
For his part, Kutcher was motivated by a desire to raise awareness of Thorn, a company that develops technology to help identify sexual exploitation of children.
“As long as the internet has existed, people have figured out ways to put this material online,” he said of the company’s mission to remove it. “The more people who play with us, the more likely we are to succeed.”
His fundraising page has already surpassed his $1 million goal.
As the training progressed, Kutcher, who spent most of his time running on a Peloton treadmill, called the company and offered to interview guests during the shoot. Peloton agreed, and at his request, a link to the Thorn fundraiser at the end of each practice as Kutcher’s sole compensation.
“The basic question of Peloton’s run is, ‘Why are you?'” he said of the interview, which included Kim Kardashian and Natalie Portman. “I think the more we can explore other people’s ‘whys’, the more we’ll discover that maybe we have a part of it ourselves.”
On his own “why,” Kutcher said, “I’ve been putting the faces of these kids that I’ve seen in the cases we’ve worked on over the past 10 years on the other end of the spectrum. [finish] Wire. Just knowing that I can find them and we can find them is very inspiring. “
His other “why” is his own son, who will be cheering him on with Kutcher’s wife Mila Kunis and daughter during the course. “My son told me that if I finished first, second or third, he would buy me a puppy,” he said. “I couldn’t bear to tell him I didn’t have a chance to win this, so I’m going out there to win it.”
Perhaps more realistically, Kutcher hopes to beat his friend Sean “Daddy” Coombs in a marathon at 4:14:54 in 2003, a number Kutcher has memorized. “I’ll be devastating that time,” he said confidently.
Will he make marathons a habit? “For now, absolutely not. There’s no other reason, just the injury is real,” he said. But knowing his competitive spirit might inspire him to challenge his time at another game, he said, “I’ve had a lot of people asking me to recommend I don’t do it again.”