For over a decade, Thomas Starr King Middle School has participated in the training and events that culminate in running of the Los Angeles Marathon. Ms. La Riva and Ms. Bishop’s team are a strong, proud representation of Students Run Los Angeles at King.  Beginning in September ‘09 this team has been learning the fundamentals of long distance running, teamwork, cooperation and responsibility.  It takes a team to run a marathon!

“Practice makes perfect.”                         “As part of this team I am proud of myself for working towards the L.A. Marathon”

Patty De Leon – 7th grade runner             Christopher Guidel – 7th grade runner

With no experience in long distance running, and with great enthusiasm, the runners started the daunting task of learning techniques necessary to go the distance, 26.2 miles.  Practices start off short and grow in distance rapidly. Team members began training twice a week with weekend events. The first two events in October were the Say No to Drugs 5K and the City of La Puente 10K. All team members participated in these events and had a blast! They learned a crucial technique in preparing for the marathon as the miles piled on. Feet don’t fail us now!

“Always pace yourself”                                     “Pacing equals success!”

Sergio Espejo – 7th grade runner             Henry Felix -8th grade runner

This team has focused on pacing in order to last the distance.  Building a strong team effort is the key. The team always runs together and has student lead-runners that set the pace, guide the way, and supervise the team’s safety.  Team members encourage each other, especially during those long races that would test anyone’s will. The Learning for Life 15K in November, and the Southern California Half Marathon were testaments to the team’s ability to succeed because of their commitment and perseverance. Sore feet could not deter this group! 

“Run with your family, so your parents can encourage you the whole way.”

Richard Mercado – 7th grade runner

As the team trains their way to the Hansen Dam 18 Miler in February, and to the L.A. Marathon on March 10, they rely on their family, friends and supporters to get them through the hard work ahead.  Parents are supportive in countless ways. They encourage training, good eating habits, help with transportation, and even work out with their children. Everywhere the team trains people are supportive with high fives, smiles and words of encouragement.  The King Family always inquires as to the team’s progress and makes sure that the runners receive recognition for their achievements.  The team feels the love from the community.

“Running with the students is incredible, and we are very proud of their academic and athletic accomplishments” Ms. Bishop & Ms. La Riva- Co-Leaders/Runners SRLA

Even though there are many sacrifices during the six-month training period, and the runners must juggle many responsibilities, they are driven by this life changing experience; the training for and completion of the mighty Los Angeles Marathon XXV.  Students and teacher-leaders must attend to their studies, meet family commitments, and keep up with school responsibilities, on top of the demanding training schedule. And yet, they wouldn’t trade it for the world.

As they head down the trail, and meet each of these milestones they know that they are doing something that is significant, unique and totally worthwhile.

L.A Marathon or Bust!

Article By Ms. La Riva with King SRLA Runners