More to SRLA?

There more’s to SRLA, not just the running part.


Lindsey Garcia

Bryan Castro hiding the ice cream we bought during practice from Mr. Lo.

When most people think of SRLA they mostly think of middle school students, high school students and teachers training, running, and participating in the LA Marathon. This is because SRLA is a non-profit that provides a free school-based mentoring and physical fitness program for middle and high school students in the Greater Los Angeles area. But there’s a lot more to SRLA and what it means to the people on the team. For example how they feel during long runs, fun memories during the season, the type of commitment they have to be able to run a certain number of miles and how hard it is and can be sometimes.

There are many different reasons that drive these students and teachers to keep going and not stop until their goal is met and they have run the LA Marathon and completed the SRLA season.

Antonio Camarillo, a seventh grade student runner on this year’s AJMS SRLA team, said, “SRLA is fun because of friends and being able to look back to see the accomplishments you made when you’re older.” This proves to us that there’s more meaning to why students decided to join SRLA. It’s not just to run but to make memories and create new goals, to challenge yourself and overall, have fun… sometimes.

“It takes a lot of dedication knowing you’re practicing and training for a marathon and not giving up halfway and just calling quits on the whole thing,” he then added.

Students including myself have participated in a series of races to prepare for the LA Marathon. These races are challenging most of the time and can make a person think “How am I going to be able to run 26.2 miles?” It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. SRLA is not always fun. There will be times where students and teachers think they can’t do it anymore and would want to give up and there’s a lot of times where students are nervous for races because its a large amount of miles.

I asked Dayana Zenteno, an eighth grade student runner on this year’s SRLA team, how she feels about the upcoming marathon this Sunday. Here’s what she said. “I am excited and nervous for the marathon, excited because it’s the big race and the last really hard one, nervous because it’s one of the biggest races ever and the most amount of miles were going to have to run in one race. I hope I can complete it and finally be able to say I have ran the Los Angeles Marathon.”

I myself am on this year’s SRLA team and honestly it’s tough sometimes but also fun. I joined SRLA because I wanted to exercise more, get out the house more and have more motivation to do things, and also to challenge myself to see if I could do it and not give up midway.

This year we had a lot of good runs but the best run moment we had during practice was when we ran to Staples Center and we ended up getting distracted along the way and went to get ice cream in a mall downtown (sorry Mr. Lo.) A lot of great memories were built during practice and I’ll miss running with this team. Mr. Lo and Mr. Finer (SRLA coaches here at AJMS) are very supportive and they help us challenge ourselves but also have fun along the way.

For me SRLA is not all about running but actually the memories and confidence it creates and builds over time. Not everyone can say they ran a marathon or say that they trained for one. Pain is temporary but pride is forever. That’s what else I think SRLA is about, not just the running part.