Juan: Returning the Favor

I have run with SRLA for four years- two years at Nimitz Middle School and two years at Bell High School. The 2018 LA Marathon was my 4th LA Marathon. It was a great experience, just like every other year, but had something special.

Like the previous year, I had a goal to run sub three hours for the LA Marathon. I knew it would be a very difficult mission with less training due to injury recoveries but I gave it a shot. Everything changed at mile 21; I was going at pace and hit the wall at mile 21. I spent several minutes trying to stretch cramps in both of my quads and could not get rid of them until a SRLA leader and a random women helped me stretch. I was able to run again.

I noticed I was not going to hit my goal anymore but I kept running. At mile 23 I came across a runner that was laying down on the floor cramped up and I decided to return the favor others did for me with that person. I helped him stretch, gave him some tips, and tried my best to encourage him to keep on running. After that I felt great knowing I helped someone else out and felt like I had never felt before in a Marathon.

The last 200 meters were also one of the best parts of this Marathon. I pushed hard and ran fast to the finish. As I saw my family on the left cheering I decided to stop and give them a hug, not caring if I pulled a muscle or not, because they supported me all the way. I ended up cramping but I kept running and when I finished I was not disappointed. I got a new personal record of 4 hours and 31 minutes and achieved my goal of completing my 4th LA Marathon in a row.

Now my goal is the same for next year, to run sub three hours next year, and to prepare myself better to do so. I want to leave Bell High School proudly saying I ran with SRLA for six years and that each year they helped find someone new in me.

To support Juan and his teammates on their journey next year, make a donation today. To share your SRLA story, email Naomi at naomi@srla.org.