Students Train for Marathon and Learn Lessons for Life

Members of

3/5/2001 6:23:43 AM

Sixty middle and high school students, members of Students Run L.A. (SRLA), listened to a presentation about running and life, and received a brief training session from three-time Olympic gold medallist Jackie Joyner-Kersee at Le Conte Middle School. SRLA helps at-risk middle and high school students realize their potential and plot a new course for their future by providing them with a life changing experience -- training for and completing the 26.2 mile L.A. Marathon.

"The Marathon is a true test of will and determination. Finishing it will be an empowering experience for all of you," stated Jackie Joyner-Kersee. "The skills used to prepare yourself for this race are the same skills you'll use to train for an even longer race -- life."

Honda, a presenting sponsor of the 16th L.A. Marathon, donated more than 2,000 pairs of Saucony running shoes to SRLA students. Aside from the shoe donation, Honda associates have supported SRLA for five years by raising funds for the organization.

SRLA members participate in weekly training sessions for nine months prior to the L.A. Marathon, and complete the regimen with stronger confidence and higher self-esteem. Through vigorous marathon training and participation in the actual event, the SRLA program helps teach students the value of commitment, dedication and discipline -- lessons they may utilize throughout their lives. To date, more than 10,000 students have participated in SRLA's training program since its inception in 1989, and 69 percent continue their education beyond high school.

"Completing the Marathon is an accomplishment that transcends running 26.2 miles," stated Eric Conn, assistant vice president of American Honda. "SRLA helps students achieve their personal goals for the L.A. Marathon and for their futures as well."

"Our sponsors understand that we're trying to motivate and challenge at-risk students to tackle an extremely difficult goal, completing the L.A. Marathon. This challenge helps students create a "can-do" attitude that helps these young men and women succeed not only in the Marathon but also in life," added Marsha Charney, SRLA's executive director. "The involvement of companies like Honda sends students the message that corporations see their potential and encourage their hard work and commitment."

Students Run L.A. is a non-profit organization that trains at-risk students to run in and finish the Los Angeles Marathon. SRLA is also a school-based intervention program aimed at adolescents for whom life is difficult, either because of family problems, negative peer influences, failure in school, or poverty.

For more information about SRLA, contact Marsha Charney at (818) 345-9377.