Each year, SRLA welcomes more than 3,200 underserved middle and high school students at 185 public schools and community programs across Greater Los Angeles to train alongside their adult mentor leaders (SRLA Leaders) to complete the entire Los Angeles Marathon. For the 2019-20 season, the demographic breakdown of SRLA students served include: 86% Latinx, 5% Caucasian, 4% Asian, 2% African American / Black, 1% Native American / Pacific Islander, and 2% Other.
Starting in September and in each month leading up to the Marathon, SRLA organizes, transports, and pays for participants to enter six community races of progressively longer distances, building from a 5K to a 30K race. Through these races, students learn to pace themselves, to set and achieve small goals, and to experience success as they train.
In March, SRLA students and their Leaders are ready to take on the Marathon. SRLA’s annual consistent results are striking - 99% of students who start the Marathon, finish it!
To make this journey possible, SRLA provides students and their SRLA Leaders with training shirts, running shoes, entry fees and transportation to the races, a Marathon uniform, Marathon Day support, and more. With most SRLA students coming from underserved communities, SRLA is steadfast in keeping its program FREE for all students and promoting healthy lifestyles and goal setting in diverse, predominantly Latinx communities.
While running is the core activity, SRLA is so much more: students participating in SRLA learn that discipline and hard work lead to success. These lessons translate directly into their education: SRLA students enjoy school, stay in school, graduate, and make plans for college at a higher rate than do their peers. With more than 75% of SRLA college-bound graduates being the first in their families to go to college, the lessons learned in SRLA help students to bridge the gap from high school to college.
Each Spring, SRLA makes available to graduating high school seniors a limited number of $500 scholarships, payable directly to the school of enrollment, for post-secondary education (including two or four-year colleges, trade schools, or fine arts programs).
In 2019, SRLA partnered with American Honda to introduce the Honda Dream Scholarship Program. Recipients of the Honda Dream Scholarship receive a $,1000 scholarship payable over two years and commit to participating in SRLA events to help mentor the next generation of student runners.
Scholarship recipients have shared their stories - read the Senior Stories on our blog.
SRLA Cares raises social, environmental, and community awareness through various community projects throughout the training season. SRLA Cares provides an opportunity for SRLA students to give back to their communities both large and small.
In 2014, SRLA collected and counted 18,302 shoes at Belvedere Middle School, breaking the Guinness World Record for “Most Shoes Collected for Recycling, which previously stood at 16,407 shoes!