Javier: I Want to be a Marathon Finisher

Javier, a senior at Diego Rivera Learning Complex, has long aspired to be a marathon finisher. Last year he took initiative to find out what it took for his school to apply to be a Students Run LA site and was very excited when he learned his school was selected. He cannot wait to cross the finish line of the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon this year.

I always had a passion for running. In fact, my mom once told me “you were a kicker in the womb” and honestly I think that was me doing my warm up.

During my elementary school years the only sport I was interested in was soccer. In middle school I was introduced to Students Run LA while I attended Thomas Edison Middle School. I walked past the office one day and saw a glass containing some Nike shoes. My first idea was that a famous athlete signed the shoes and left them as a souvenir for the school. But, as I looked closer I saw bright yellow letters with the acronym SRLA. As I read the words MARATHON FINISHER I knew I wanted to join the running club to prove how fast and committed I was to running. I thought it would be a great opportunity to become part of the 1% of our population to actually finish a marathon, so I got the paperwork and was excited to participate in races that would lead me to cross the finish line and earn a medal and a sweater that I always saw (to me) the cool kids wearing with MARATHON FINISHER in big letters across the back. But when I got home my mom was okay with me joining and my dad said no. My dad was worried I would get hurt running in the streets. As much as I tried convincing him he just said no. During middle school, I continued to run on my own and did not participate in the club.

At the end of my sophomore year at Diego Rivera Learning Complex I wanted to run the LA Marathon but as soon as I saw the price I just slowly closed the tab because it was just too pricey. During my junior we were fortunate to have Ms. Buenrostro as our new Assistant Principal. I was so excited because she was one of the SRLA coaches at Edison Middle School. Diego Rivera did not have a SRLA program, but I asked her what would be the steps to have SRLA at our campus. Ms. Buenrostro, Mr. Banda and Mr. Cameras worked hard to get all the necessary paperwork to get this club at our school.

When Ms. Buenrostro said we were one of the fortunate few to be selected as a new school for SRLA, I wanted to help by spreading the word. As team captain for my cross country and track and field teams it was always hard to find students that wanted to join because it seemed like no one likes to run. Each year it become more and more stressful because our team got smaller and smaller. I took initiative advocating for the new run club and visited classrooms. During classrooms visits I promoted the running club by stating it could change your life and bring you an amazing family of friends that support each other in races.

This is my first season with SRLA and I have seen how the crowd supports you every step of the way. The teachers and students cheering each other on is amazing. SRLA races are inspiring because everyone is there to push you to become someone better. For practices at my school, you never walk into practice disappointed that you are about to run 9 miles or run for an hour, NO! We walk into practice happy because the teachers and the students are dedicated and set to one goal. We always have a great time with laughter and pushing each other and that is what SRLA is all about. SRLA is an organization for students like me that want to run and push their body to complete one of their goals, the completion of the LA. Marathon.

I want to thank SRLA for the shoes, the support, and the family it has given me. Although it is my first and last year with the club it has given me everything I always thought SRLA would offer. Although I am a Senior, I will continue to help outreach for this club. My goal is to become a physical education teacher and I would love to have SRLA at the school I will teach at. This club is amazing and my friends and I are grateful that with SRLA we are able to be part of the of the thousands of students finishing a marathon. Thank you SRLA!