Students Run LA Achieves New Milestone
A cool, sunny day provided perfect weather for the 33rd Los Angeles Marathon, as 24,000 runners made their way across 26.2-miles from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier. Among the thousands of runners were 3,200 from Students Run LA (SRLA), an American Honda-supported organization that inspires at-risk youth to achieve their dreams by training for and completing this marathon.
Students Run LA enables students to experience the benefits of goal-setting, character development, adult mentoring and improved health by providing them with a truly life-changing experience. This year, SRLA achieved a new milestone – 99.7 percent of the students finish the race.
At this year’s L.A. Marathon, 10 Honda volunteers joined SRLA marathoners at the 22-mile mark to “run them in,” encouraging them along the remaining 4.2-miles to the finish line.
“It was another successful marathon this year and a very gratifying ‘RunThem In’ experience for me!” said Corey Taguchi of the AHM Motorcycle Division. “This was my first volunteer activity since coming back to California after being in Japan for the last two-and-a-half years. “I ended up ‘running in’ four students and focused on one at the end who really needed some positive motivation.”
Forty additional Honda volunteers were stationed at the finish line and throughout Tongva Park to guide students back to SRLA’s post at Santa Monica High School. Many of the volunteers were from the Honda Community Action Team.
“What a joy it was to see volunteers with their friends and family,” shared Victor Wilson of the AHM Call Center. “It takes a great kid to cheer on another kid!”
Rob Keough from Acura Product Planning brought along his entire family. They have volunteered separately for various Honda charitable events, and this is the first time they were able to all volunteer for the same event.
“For my wife and I, it’s important to show our kids how to get involved and support our community,” said Keough. “Through volunteering, you get out of your normal routine, get involved with different communities, meet new people, help somebody, teach something, learn something and have experiences you would have otherwise missed out on.”
Last year, Keough and his daughter cheered on the students from Tongva Park, and this year, they joined the SRLA students at Mile 22 to run them in.
“I have never seen kids with more determination to finish what they started than the SRLA students,” he said. “It’s an emotional experience for everyone to cross the finish line. As a volunteer coach, it’s so exciting to see the students you’ve encouraged along the way achieve their goal. Through the pain and exhaustion, you can see the pride of accomplishment on their faces.”
As the SRLA runners made their way back to the high school, DJ Joe, a staple with SRLA at the 18-mile Friendship Run and alumni event, was at the L.A. Marathon providing just the right type of music for the students’ celebratory walk. DJ Joe also knows just what to say when he sees the Honda volunteers, thanking Honda for supporting SRLA for more than 20 years.
Honda has supported SRLA’s mission for 21 years, contributing more than $2 million to provide support for students’ uniforms, nutrition, training and SRLA’s scholarships. Since 1989, SRLA has served more than 63,000 students with the growth of the program increasing its success.