Nearly 2,500 ‘Students Run LA’ participants jam the big race – Daily News

Armed with youthful energy and bright neon shirts lighting up the racecourse, thousands of local students from across Southern California descended on the racecourse on Sunday, March 20th to compete in the 2022 Los Angeles Marathon.

Students Run LA, a nonprofit marathon training and free mentoring program aimed at helping underserved students build character, was an organization that gave nearly 2,500 students the opportunity to complete the 26.2-mile “Stadium to the Stars” walk from Dodger Stadium to Century City.

According to Cassidy Smith, marketing and communications associate for the free marathon training program offered at more than 185 public schools in the Los metro area, more than 95% of SRLA participants who attempt the marathon complete the 26-mile and 385 -Yard range Angeles area.

Malicka Taffa said she was inspired to join SRLA because she didn’t want her heart condition to limit her in everyday activities and was motivated to try something new and different.

“Because of my heart condition, I was always unsure about running,” said Malicka, a 16-year-old who attends Venice High School. “I couldn’t be like everyone else because I had to slow down. But this year I felt an overwhelming urge to venture into the unknown and see how it goes.”

Eight cadets from the LAPD’s Southwest Division joined the team and left their homes around 3 a.m. Sunday to make it in time for the start of the big race.

The group was one of many unable to compete in last year’s race due to coronavirus-related restrictions, captain Isbeidy Cruz said.

Running virtually, she said, is not the same.

“To be perfectly honest sir, it wasn’t that much fun virtually sir because there was no motivation. We just ran in a lot of crowds,” Cruz said.

“But out here we have more people who will be cheering us on. They’re going to tell us to move on and I feel like it’s a better experience than virtual.”

Itzel Acevedo agreed with this opinion during an interview a few hours before the start of the marathon.

“Everyone is very energetic today because we are coming back after a pandemic and other virtual races,” Acevedo said. “So it’s just nice to see new people and new faces.”

The group of eight, who will run alongside four officers who serve as mentors to the group, have been training for several months in preparation for this weekend’s race.

Alongside the running, Cadet Maria Rodas said, “We’re really helping each other and growing as a person overall.”

The group encouraged others to get involved as well by visiting lapd_southwestcadets on Instagram.

“This is a great opportunity,” added Rodas.

The City News Service contributed to this report

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