The pandemic and school closures didn’t stop the members of the Kranz Intermediate School and Madrid Middle School Students Run LA (SRLA) teams from setting a goal and training for the Los Angeles marathon. The LA Marathon, normally held in March, was postponed this year until November due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even with the uncertainty of the large event taking place, members of SRLA continued to train for six months working toward their goal of completing the 26.2 miles.
Led by their school coaches, Marcos Garcia from Kranz and David Dorf from Madrid, as well other assistants and volunteers, the student teams began training both virtually and in small groups in October.
In lieu of the actual marathon in March, SRLA sponsored a Cross the Finish Line Challenge for the student teams, providing a way for them to run the 26.2 miles. An estimated 2,500 students and teachers/mentors representing more than 170 schools ran a sanctioned marathon race in their communities, parks and beaches throughout Los Angeles county. Madrid’s team completed their challenge at Legg Lake and Kranz’s team ran at Arcadia Park, with family and friends there proudly cheering them on.
Students who completed the Cross the Finish Line Challenge marathon within the allotted race time received a virtual 2021 LA Marathon race medal.
“Training for any marathon is quite daunting but, during this pandemic along with school closures made it much more challenging,” said Dorf. “I am in awe of our six SRLA students and their parents for starting a journey with the notion that the LA Marathon or even running 26.2 was possible. This year the students completed most of the training on their own due to school closures.”
According to Dorf, the coaches guided the paths for each of the runners during this pandemic but, it was the students who had the devotion, commitment, mental toughness and grit to train for six months and the opportunity to complete a marathon. “I’m so proud to be a small part of this journey along with our coaches and have the honor of being part of an amazing program such as SRLA for the past six years,” added Dorf.
The SRLA program has been offered at both Kranz and Madrid schools for several years, providing students the chance to realize a goal through training for and running in the marathon. The SRLA organization provides students in the program with two pairs of sneakers and race day uniforms, as well as entrance into mini-marathons and other races prior to the L.A. Marathon.
Jocelyn, currently a sophomore at Mountain View High School, and former Kranz SRLA team member, trained with the Kranz team and appreciated being part of SRLA during the pandemic.
“This pandemic has brought me a bit down but being in SRLA lifted my motivation to push myself,” she said. “Witnessing people around me fall ill to the virus, reinforced that I am lucky to be healthy and continue to stay healthy with running. Even though there were times we had to practice on our own, my goal was to be a strong asset to the team when we reunited because that is what family does- we support one another even when we are not together.”
The student runners agreed that completing the marathon was a life-changing experience that challenged them mentally and physically but, in the end, showed them that they are capable of reaching goals and that nothing is impossible.
MVSD is extremely proud of the stellar athletes for their dedication, perseverance and courage and appreciates the efforts of the coaches and volunteers for providing such an extraordinary experience for students, especially during this challenging year.