The Spirit of Giving: Hollywood trainer finds closure in race for HAVEN

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published November 21, 2019

 Celebrity fitness trainer Alex Fine was able to raise more than $25,000 for HAVEN of Oakland County, which helped his mother, Pam Fine, recover from a domestic violence experience.

Celebrity fitness trainer Alex Fine was able to raise more than $25,000 for HAVEN of Oakland County, which helped his mother, Pam Fine, recover from a domestic violence experience.

Photo taken from Alex Fine’s Instagram

OAKLAND COUNTY — At the end of August, just days after he had gotten married on a beach in Malibu, celebrity fitness trainer Alex Fine made good on a promise to his mom to complete an ultramarathon in her honor.

And now Pam Fine, months later, still gets choked up when she talks about her son crossing the finish line at the Santa Monica Pier.

“It was so gut-wrenching,” said Pam Fine, who lives and works in Oakland County. “Toward the end, he was screaming every time his foot hit the ground. I told him, ‘You can stop, buddy. You’ve done enough.’ But he shook his head. We didn’t even know then that he was running on a broken ankle.”

After nearly two years of domestic abuse, Pam Fine turned to HAVEN of Oakland County for the counseling she needed to work through her experience. In April — about 28 months after she had first gone to the police for help — Fine’s abuser was sentenced to a mere 30-day work-release jail sentence in Colorado.  

Her son, however, wasn’t ready to put the incident behind him just yet. Known for shaping the physiques of actress Jennifer Aniston and the cast of the hit Netflix show “Riverdale,” Alex Fine is certainly an experienced athlete, but he’s the first to admit that running is not his forte.

“I’m not into running, so training has been awful,” Alex Fine told C & G Newspapers with a laugh back in May. “I never do distance running at all. I haven’t run over a mile in a long time.”

The challenge of running a staggering 50-mile ultramarathon from Compton, California, to Santa Monica to raise funds in support of HAVEN, the organization that had helped his mom, was what he personally needed to do to move on.

“In April, our whole family — me, Alex, (his wife) Cassie — we all flew to Colorado for the sentencing. I got to speak, and he got to speak, because you know my abuser was his former football coach,” Pam Fine explained. “That was a painful day. But to me, the race represented healing and hope and giving back. We had moved on into this much better place, and he did this amazing thing.”

Alex Fine’s trek from Compton started in the early morning and was livestreamed on Instagram throughout the day so spectators around the world could keep their eye on his journey. The tougher the run got, the more viewers wanted to give. Toward the end, dangerously sunburned and obviously injured, he was rejuvenated by a $25,000 donation, and then an $11,000 donation. As he crossed the finish line and collapsed into his family’s arms, the final tally came to more than $56,000. He gave a portion to the Compton Cowboys, an equestrian nonprofit that serves at-risk children in the surrounding community. The rest, about $27,000, went straight to HAVEN.

“That was such an incredible feeling, going there and handing them this huge contribution that my son had earned — I mean, really earned,” Pam Fine said. “And I know it’s going toward something really good. I work in a public school, so I’ve referred girls there who have been raped or abused. It’s so nice to be able to say to them, ‘It’s free. Just go.’”

“We were thrilled. I mean, he did such an amazing job, just hanging in there,” said Aimee Nimeh, the president and CEO of HAVEN of Oakland County. “Really, just him taking a public stand against domestic and sexual violence is wonderful, especially someone of his influence. The money is helpful to us, of course, but we’re just honored to be part of this with him.”

“Men need to be held accountable for their role (in domestic violence). Their friends, their cousin, their uncle — if I don’t check them, I would be responsible too,” Alex Fine said in a previous interview. “We need to get more men involved. A vast majority of them are on our side, and there’s just a chosen few idiots. Everyone has a mother, daughter, sister.”

As the year comes to a close, so does the sadness that for too long haunted the Fine family. Alex Fine is on the mend after the ultramarathon, and he’s back in the gym training L.A.’s finest. He and his wife, a singer, are expecting a baby daughter any day, and his mom back in Michigan is thrilled to spend 2020 in celebration of a new year and a new start.

“He kept saying since the beginning, ‘Mama, I’m doing this for you.’ And I’d say, ‘Buddy, that’s so sweet. But you’ve done enough,’” Pam Fine said. “It was amazing to see what he could do not only physically, but mentally. And I know he’s going to do more. That’s just who he is. He really pushes himself hard.”

To support HAVEN, visit https://www.haven-oakland.org/donate.