Prince Royce will be running this weekend in the NYC Marathon to benefit Change for Kids and the National Kidney Foundation. He shares with People Chica why these charities are close to his heart and how running has changed his life.

By Lena Hansen
November 03, 2017 12:59 PM
Instagram/ @princeroyce

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Prince Royce was no fan of cardio, but when a cousin challenged him to start running with him for exercise, the bachata singer didn’t immediately turn him down. “He talked me into it. One day he was going for a run and he challenged me,” Royce tells  People Chica. “I woke up one morning, bought sneakers, ran in Central Park and that was it.”

That was over six months ago and the Dominican American singer has been hooked ever since —and will be running in the New York City Marathon this Sunday. “It’s been inspiring knowing you can achieve whatever you set your mind to,” says Royce, 28, who has lost 12 pounds since he started running. He was thrilled when he logged 20 miles last week as part of his rigorous training, which also includes adding more clean protein to his diet.

“I’m exhausted. I gotta keep it real!” he says of maintaining his running routine while touring, recording new music and attending award shows. “It was difficult because I was on tour and had to run in random places,” he adds. His girlfriend, Shadowhunters actress Emeraude Toubia, has been supportive but is not a big runner. “She has not come along for a run,” he laughs. “She joined me twice for a light jog.”

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The fact that he is running the NYC Marathon to benefit charity organizations Change for Kids and The National Kidney Foundation fuels him. “I grew up in a tough neighborhood in the Bronx and education is so important,” he says of helping Change for Kids, a non-profit that helps public elementary schools in underprivileged areas in New York City. “I hope to inspire and motivate youths.”

He also chose to support the National Kidney Foundation for personal reasons. “My grandfather passed away before I was born; I never got to meet him,” he says of Domingo De León, who passed away from complications from a kidney cyst. It’s a condition that runs in his family, he adds.

“I’ve had aunts who have gone through dialysis and have had kidney transplants. They get cysts in the kidneys and you inherit that,” he says. “I definitely check myself. I pay attention to it. No matter what challenge he faces, quitting is not in his DNA. “I don’t know if I will be sore or exhausted,” he says of Sunday’s race. “[But] I will get to that finish line!”