At first, Corey Ray Sr. saw the steep hill at Robichaux Park near his family's South Side home as a way to help keep his son, Corey, in line.
"I'd challenge him like, 'If I beat you in a race up, you have to do what I say,' '' Corey Sr. recalled Thursday. "And then he started to get older … and faster.''
Once Corey started winning, the rewards turned into pizza and video games. Eventually, father stopped going altogether, figuring his work was done once running the hill became a habit for his self-disciplined son.
Some days, he left to run before the sun rose. Some nights, he went after the sun set. Most days, the family knew where they could find Corey,...