Thankful for Our SRLA Family

The last few days have been difficult. Our community has been struck by multiple tragedies. First, the senseless shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill followed by the mass destruction of wild fires to hit our region. I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are safe.

The fires had a direct impact on our program. For the first time in 30 years, Students Run LA had to cancel a race. The SRLA Lake Balboa 15K run was scheduled for this past Sunday in Encino. With the smoky conditions in the area, we had no choice but to cancel the race to protect the health and safety of nearly 4,000 participants. 

Unfortunately, just yesterday, another tragedy struck even closer to home. I learned that a recent alumnus, Andy Olivera, who had been part of our program for seven years and a freshman at Cal State University LA was killed this past weekend. He was doing what he loved – running – when he was struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident. Our hearts go out to him and his family.


Andy (on the right) was a SRLA alumni that ran at Virgil Middle School, Cortines, and Franklin High School.

Personally, I would find this all too much to bear if it weren’t for the outpouring of support that I have felt from the greater SRLA community. Instead of hearing complaints about a cancelled race, I received messages of understanding, thanking SRLA for prioritizing the health and safety of our students. I have seen and heard heartfelt tributes from SRLA Leaders and friends memorializing a beloved student who lost his life too soon. During this trying time, the SRLA community has come together, exhibiting what I have always known – SRLA is about so much more than just running.

SRLA is truly a loving and caring community. It is one thing to talk about the SRLA family, but it is entirely another thing to see it in action. 

As the Thanksgiving Day holiday approaches, I wanted to let you know how grateful I am that YOU are part of the SRLA family. Whether you run at our races, volunteer with our students, cheer us on at the Marathon, or financially support our organization, you are an important part of our SRLA family and we are thankful for you!

SRLA truly embodies the positive change that can be created when people work together and support one another. Thank you for being a part of it.

With gratitude,

Marsha Charney

Students Run LA Executive Director