SRLA gives out shirts at their annual 5K marathon along the Crystal Springs Trail and the Griffith Park Golf Course in 2017. (High School Insider)

Column: Born to run — My experience with Students Run L.A.

Being part of Students Run L.A., an organization that was created to provide students to opportunity to run, has definitely changed who I am as a person. The events are arranged so that every participant is able to start training for the Los Angeles Marathon, which is the last event of the season.

I remember when I was first recruited for the program, I was about to decline for the simple fact that I would be forced to wake up early in the morning to run the required miles.

My father told me that I should at least give it a try and if I did not like it, then I could leave it. I certainly made the right decision when I did try it out. It started as a mere hobby, but the more I ran, the more I wanted to force myself to do more.

During the first season, we did not have enough spots for all the runners, and I was not supposed to run that first marathon. However, one of the runners offered not only a spot, but a whole new experience.

If I am honest, I did not have a real motive for running the marathon other than to see how far I could get. That was enough for me.

At the beginning, the races were simple. Then, we slowly moved to different areas, and during the events, I found new languages, cultures, people and places. Meanwhile, I found a family in my team.

There were always times when I wished I could just stop running and then I would ask myself why I would I choose to run over and over.

Every time, as egocentric and selfish as this may seem, the answer was always the same during my first two seasons — not everyone can finish a marathon, is able to do it for free and has the opportunity to go home, sleep and eat after completion and have a great story about how you achieved what few can.

Everything changed this season. I have learned to lead a team along with my teacher. From my partners, I have learned that will is all you need in order to achieve any goal.

They showed me the strength of the mind even when everything seemed to be against them. I also learned to listen to my body, when I can go faster and when I should go slower, and it always tells me the way it likes to run. I found my pleasure in running.

Now that I have completed three marathons, I would like to prepare myself for the next one. I wish to see how far I can run. I want my family to be proud of me, especially my brother, who just finished his first marathon.

Because of the quarantine, I haven’t been able to train since it is best to stay at home right now, but hopefully I will get the opportunity to go running again.

Running has given me a new passion, and SRLA has given me the opportunity to run.