February 22, 2019
Students Run LA (SRLA) will host an 18-mile “Friendship Run” this Sunday as part of a program that will reach nearly 4,000 at-risk middle and high school students. SRLA was shortlisted for the 2018 Sport for Quality Education and Employment Award.
For 30 years, SRLA has provided a free youth mentoring, marathon-training program throughout Greater Los Angeles. The program pairs students with more than 500 volunteer teachers from 185 schools and community programs in preparation for the the Los Angeles Marathon.
Through this transformative experience, SRLA students discover their best selves and learn how to make plans for the future. Annually, more than 95% of the students who attempt the Marathon complete the 26.2 mile course; and more than 95% of the seniors in SRLA graduate from high school with plans to attend college the following fall - 75% of whom are the first in their families to go to college. Since the program began in 1989, more than 66,000 students have participated in SRLA.
“This is the final race on our students’ journey to the 26.2-mile marathon,” said Marsha Charney, Executive Director of SRLA. “This race will be a final milestone before the Marathon, proving to our runners that they have put in the hard work necessary to get to the big day.”
In addition to running, SRLA students will also participate in a community service project: “Pasta to Make a Difference!” Students will collect pasta at their schools that will be donated to MEND, a food bank located near the race site.
SRLA began when East Los Angeles continuation high school teacher, Harry Shabazian, completed the first City of Los Angeles Marathon. Feeling personally transformed, Harry challenged his students, who were struggling both in school and life, to train with him for the next marathon in order to change their lives as well. The half dozen students who did so not only finished the marathon, but also all finished high school and went on to university.
One of these original students, Lulu Rojas, is now a teacher who leads the SRLA program at Downtown Value Magnet High School.
SRLA reaches more than 3,250 middle and high school students each year across Greater Los Angeles. In 2018, SRLA brought 2,746 students to the starting line of the Marathon, and over 99% successfully crossed the finish line.
SRLA was one of the 35 organizations selected for the 2018 Beyond Sport Global Awards Shortlist. To learn more about the Shortlist, click here.