Years ago, Phil Kent and his friends made a tradition of hiking Griffith Park the day after Thanksgiving, long before today's campaigns promoting outdoor activity over Black Friday binge shopping.
Northridge resident Kent died two months ago of pancreatic cancer, but about 30 of his friends — many of them repeat participants in the annual hike — returned to Griffith Park to keep the tradition going, now dubbed Phil Kent's Black Friday Antidote Hike.
Mikey Lynch, an Eagle Rock resident who knows Kent from their running club, the L.A. Leggers, organized this year's outing.
"We would go off on often very underestimated mileage or underestimated effort level," Lynch said. "And it would usually lead to resentments until about New Year's when we would do another hike, and fall for it all over again," Lynch joked.
The hike started at the Merry-Go-Round parking lot and headed up to Mt. Hollywood, Griffith Park Observatory and, for the hardiest hikers, the Hollywood sign. Lynch, recovering from knee surgery, planned to turn around after about three uphill miles.
Kent was an avid hiker and marathon runner. He had recovered somewhat from several rounds of chemotherapy and surgery in 2013 when he and two friends were caught in between the first and second explosions that disrupted the Boston Marathon. They returned to run the race in 2014.
His widow, Sharon Kent came out for the hike, reminding their friends, "Remember what Phil used to say: Stick together and if you get hurt, it's your own damn fault."
It was a joke they knew so well, several repeated it along with her.