In his editor’s letter for the 50th-anniversary issue of Runner’s World, David Willey explains why the magazine chose to publish a six-cover edition featuring hilariously retro portraits of actor/comedian Kevin Hart and Olympic long-distance runner Alexi Pappas.
“In addition to being the ‘face’ of each issue, a magazine cover (a good one, anyway) is a mirror of the times in which its readers are living,” writes Willey. “But here’s an interesting thing about looking in a mirror: You see yourself in the present moment, but you also glimpse what’s behind you. With that in mind, we set out to create something special for this issue. The idea was to shoot two runners (one male and one female, to match our 50/50 readership) who personify the current moment in running—and who could ‘reenact’ two memorable eras from the past 50 years.
“I think we picked the perfect people,” he continues. Kevin Hart is a relatively new runner who, because he’s also a worldwide celebrity, can rally thousands of people for a 5K with a single tweet to his 30 million followers. This arguably makes him the most effective advocate for running on earth. Alexi Pappas is an Olympian who competes at the highest level of the sport while simultaneously building a career as an actress and a filmmaker. Her following isn’t as massive as Hart’s (whose is?), but she is a powerful role model, for young women in particular. They both love running and believe in its power to change lives, and both of them are using social media to inspire a ‘new boom’ of runners who come into the sport in novel ways, with nontraditional priorities.”
Here’s a look at the covers, which were shot by Art Streiber, along with a few behind-the-scenes pictures. Visit Art’s Instagram feed to read more about the shoot.