In an effort to galvanize the youth in Southern California, the Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA) Program brought together over 3,000 middle and high school students and trained for the annual Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 17.
Starting in September, participants went on monthly runs of increasing difficulty in preparation for a grueling 26.2 mile course that would test endurance, speed and mentality. After the race, they joined the .5% of the world population that has completed a marathon.
The SRLA Program first began in 1988 when Harry Shabazian, an avid runner, challenged several at-risk students to the Los Angeles Marathon. Upon completing the marathon, the students not only graduated high school but also ended up attending colleges and becoming active members in their respective communities.
Since then, through a collective effort by volunteers, staff members, sponsors, and school teachers, SRLA has not only been able to encourage a healthy lifestyle to countless students but also the importance of setting goals and gradually achieving them.
Dean Tanioka, a junior at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies(LACES), stated, “The SRLA program is a great way for me to stay fit and focused on my goals while studying in school. Not only was the marathon a memorable achievement in my life, but the whole process has been a huge inspiration in achieving my goals at whatever I do.”
Jonathan Seo, a senior at LACES, said, “I enjoyed every single mile of the marathon. It felt amazing running by the most popular sites in all of Southern California. All the supporters and volunteers made it all the more exciting. I couldn’t wrap my head around that fact that I had run from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica, but nonetheless, I was relieved to be finished. I couldn’t have felt more proud of myself.”