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Without Students Run LA I would not be the same person. As cheesy as this sounds, without SRLA I would be completely different. I owe a lot to SRLA. Before joining the team, I was a very chubby and shy kid. I was not as outgoing and sociable as I am now. In addition, I also was not involved in much sports. I heard about SRLA through four of my friends. They were in it their 8th grade, and got so much recognition. That motivated me a lot and in turn I joined the next year, my freshman year. I had told many of my close friends to join with me, but none of them were as interested as I was. I joined, and it was a tough journey. The first week alone I learned how hard running is. However, I could not give up, as I had a lot to prove. Our coach also told many of the first year runners to join Cross Country not only for the experience, but because of how promising we seemed. My first year, there were about 20 runners in my school’s team, from 8th-12th grade, and we all bonded closer everyday running for 6 months. Along with the other runners, we also got close to our two coaches. They taught us a lot, and I know I owe a lot to those two guys.
My first year was a very tough year, but probably the most important because I knew who I was, and what I wanted to be, a runner. Although my first marathon experience was not the greatest, I felt like crying tears of joy when it was over. At the time of completing my first marathon I told myself “never again”. However, how could I just give up all the memories, the medals, and, overall, the people. In addition, I was also determined to beat my previous year PR’s.
As the years went by, the team got larger. The first year SRLA was at my school there were only about 10 runners. Now, my final year, there are nearly 60 runners in pursuit of the marathon. A few of my friends joined SRLA with me over the years because of all the experiences I told them in the team, and how much I pushed them. That is one of the greatest feelings from SRLA I have felt, not only my close friends, but when underclassmen tell me they joined because of my inspiration.
Over the years I also saw change in myself not only physically, but mentally. Due to the team, I became very self-assured, and a very outgoing, social guy, in exchange of the enclosed kid I was before. On our team you can not be shy or quiet even if you wanted to. Our team is like a family, and I can honestly say I know everyone in it now or previously on the team. Many people are shy to talk in front of crowds, let alone talk to strangers, but I have conquered that fear because of my experiences meeting many people due to SRLA. In addition, I also became very competitive. I always looked up to the top runners in my freshman year, until I could run alongside them my junior year. I love the feeling of speed. I love the feeling of a new record, and even more beating the records of my peers. My proudest race, and also my worst, was the CIF Cross Country City finals. I made it top 15 runners out of 90 students, out of 15 schools, but I know I could have done better. After the race I felt like running 4 years went too a waste. My goals all these four years was to reach state level competition, but I know without my injury I could have accomplished it. Good or bad, it was another great race to add under my belt.
In conclusion, I can not imagine my life without SRLA. My school is a small school, with a little over 400 kids, but I can gladly say everyone knows me as “that runner kid”. I have seen many places, met many people, and done many things because of running. My family sometimes tells me to stop running because of how much time I spend running. SRLA is where I spread my wings and fly, it is a place to release any stress and forget. Without SRLA, I could not or would not have done anything I have done. I owe a lot to my two coaches who inspire me, and my SRLA family.
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Thank you, Edd the Runner, for sharing your story! To read more student stories, please check out the SRLA blog. To help Edd and his SRLA teammates on their transformational journey, please consider making a donation to Students Run LA here.