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With Unique Delivery North Austin Man Spreads Positivity Through Troubled Neighborhood
Every day, for nearly four years, a local man has been spreading positivity through one’s of Austin’s troubled neighborhoods.
If you've driven through North Austin, you’ve probably seen the Rundberg Running Man. He’s nearly impossible to miss because he’s circling the W. Rundberg Lane and N. Lamar Blvd. intersection singing, dancing and jogging.
“I'm the black Forest Gump, baby!” laughed Broderick James.
Broderick James goes by Rundberg Running Man when he’s performing at the busy intersection.
“Most people that see me be like, ‘what is he doing?’” said James. “Because it look crazy!”
It does look crazy. But James is not homeless, he’s not on drugs, and he’s not asking for any money. In fact, he's not asking for anything from drivers passing through the intersection except that they notice him.
“All I want to do is keep people electrified and feeling good,” he said. “Walking on the corner, driving on the corner they’re like, ‘there go that dude, man, keeping everybody spirit up!’ I know a lot of people having a lot of bad days and that’s why I come out here.”
In the troubled Rundberg neighborhood, Running Man is spreading a message of positivity, hard work, and dedication.
“I call myself the ‘Hood Gandhi’, you're looking at him right here, Hood Gandhi baby! It’s beautiful,” said James with a laugh.
It’s an unconventional, one-of-a-kind method. His street performance is full of energy and changes by the minute. On one corner he’s pretend fighting with the telephone pole, calling out that, ‘like Ali, I’m the greatest’. As he heads to the next block, he spreads positive messages, like ‘if you want it, go get it.’ The next minute he’s rapping and making up lyrics singing, “every single day, we gonna grind, grind ‘til we shine, shine and get mine, do it all the time.”
For James, the world’s a stage; his performance a platform to make a difference in the only way he knows how.
“I know a lot of people in this community are not used to seeing people be good. They're used to hearing negativity. The culture is bad, so I wanted to fight the culture,” said James. “I can't save nobody. I can't free nobody, but I'm going to try my best to try and get as many people as I can to smile. I'm going to do my part. My little light, I'm going to try to let it shine.”
Running Man's statistics are pretty impressive. In the four years that he's been doing this, he's run nearly 37,000 miles in that intersection alone (averaging 20 miles a day) and he’s spent about 6,700 hours there performing, according to him.
Broderick says his New Year's resolution is to take his performance and his positive message for the Rundberg community beyond the Rundberg/Lamar intersection.
You can see the Rundberg Running Man perform nearly every day from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the intersection.
By Karen Kiley