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While our future marathoners were enjoying their final days of summer break, over 200 enthusiastic leaders representing more than 140 schools and groups dedicated a full day to attend our SRLA Marathon Leader Conference on August 2, 2016. This day of instruction, presented through workshops and speakers, represented the first real day of the 2016-2017 season. Their high spirits and commitment to absorbing all that was offered is a sure sign this will be one of the most successful seasons ever!
Marsha Charney, Executive Director, SRLA, began the day by thanking the leaders for giving of their time and energy to take on this formidable challenge of training students for the marathon. Marsha introduced the SRLA staff and welcomed Al Cortes, Executive Director of Beyond The Bell, who reiterated the support given by LAUSD for our program. A heartfelt greeting was also extended to the group by Tracey Russell, CEO of Conqur Endurance Group and the Sketchers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, and by her Manager of Charity Partnerships, Rachel Sanchez. Without their support and sponsorship, the students and leaders of SRLA would not be able to realize their goals of participating in a marathon. Their expressions of partnership and the belief in the benefits we bring the youth of Los Angeles were welcome and well-received words of encouragement for everyone.
With the mission for the season well defined, the leaders dispersed to the assorted sessions to gather knowledge and build expertise through various workshops and demonstrations. The topics included SRLA Philosophy (Eric Spears, Sr. Coordinator & Co-Founder); Group Management and Building Meaningful Relationships with Youth (Dre De La Peza, Up2Us Sports); Building Community through Social Media (Lindsay Tredent-Mauch and Christine Moore, LTM Digital); Injury Prevention (Vicki Lim, PT/ATC); Strength Training (Tania Fischer, The Janes); Best Practices for New and Veteran Leaders (Joe Mendoza, Coordinator); Training Using Run/Walk Methodology (Louis Bonsteel IV, Marathon Leader); Nutrition and Hydration (Lori Chang, MS,RD, CSCS…); and specialized stretching through Yoga for Runners (Chris Acosta, Marathon Leader)!
Keynote speaker, Annette K. Lynch, recently the Senior Manager of Coaching Excellence & Sport Education for Special Olympics North America, enhanced the lunch hour by emphasizing the importance of sport for youth and in particular the effectiveness of our efforts for young people across Los Angeles. Drawing upon her more than 50 years of coaching, training, and managing sports program, she confirmed the essential role played by the Marathon Leaders in the lives of the youth we touch, and provided context to the benefits realized across the full SRLA season.
A special thanks to Paul Trapani, Co-Founder of SRLA and newly minted Director of Program, who organized the content and style of the conference. At his side were Harry Shabazian (Sr. Coordinator & Co-Founder) and Abel Navar (Coordinator & Alumnus) who concluded the day by holding a drawing for SRLA goodies won by some lucky leaders.
Armed with knowledge, enthusiasm, and a renewed sense of camaraderie, the leaders are now ready to build their teams and begin training their students toward the goal of completing 26.2 miles through the streets of Los Angeles on March 19, 2017!
Check out more pictures from the Annual Leader Conference on our Gallery Page.