By Mary O’KEEFE
After miles and miles of training, 10 Rosemont Middle School students will finally realize their pay-off of months of sore feet and aching knees: the Los Angeles Marathon this Sunday.
Twenty-two students began their quest for marathon gold at the beginning of the school year. They began with short runs and worked up to an 18-mile race at Hansen Dam. They train after school and at very early morning runs at the Rose Bowl. The 22 students that began dwindled down to 10 for a variety of reasons from injuries to time restraints.
The training and final marathon run is made possible by volunteer parents and teachers that help train the students. This year teacher/mentor/coach Stephanie Satoorian put on her running shoes and sacrificed most weekends and after school to help the kids through the days of not knowing if they can make it one more block to the jubilation of crossing the finish line.
But all the training would not be possible without the support through Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA) an organization sponsored by Honda. SRLA started as a positive outreach program for students in the L.A. Unified School District. It expanded to a few schools outside the district and allowed as many students that wanted to run to join. In recent years however due to the economy, SRLA has continued to support LAUSD but have limited the amount of students outside the district.
“I got them to accept 15 of our students,” Satoorian said.
Students dropped out of the Rosemont SRLA program due to injuries and scheduling conflicts. The 10 that remain however have passed the dreaded Hansen Dam race and are ready for this weekend’s run in L.A.
“It will be an interesting run,” Satoorian said.
It is predicted to rain on Saturday. Rain or shine the kids are excited and ready to go.
“I have never run the marathon,” said Neinel Estapanians, eighth grader.
She added she had never run in any race before but felt ready for Saturday.
When asked what they have learned from the training experience student Kevin Warren said, “It teaches us perseverance.”
Student McKenna Middleton loves racing so much she decided to run Glendale’s Downtown Dash.
“We didn’t know she was doing it,” Satoorian said.
“I got first place in the 13 to 19-year-olds,” Middleton said.
Her time for the 3.1-mile run was 22.34.
“I hope to run the [L.A. Marathon] in under four hours,” she added.
No matter what the time all the kids felt good about their training and their upcoming run. When asked what they are most looking forward to they said in unison, “Crossing the finish line!”