By: Porscha Outlaw, Alan Gutierrez, Manny Tovar, and Anabel Ocampo
The sound of thumping shoes, loud talking, and trains meet the ears of students as they run in an L shape at Washington Park. Several of them coughing as they pass people who are smoking. “Lets wrap it up,” calls Mr. Bordagaray. Students running come to a stop and meet back at school, grumbling about practice being cut short due to the smoke.
But now things have changed for SRLA runners of the 2018 marathon.
New season for SRLA! NO more running back and forth and bumping into each other at Washington Park. Big changes and new rules this year.
Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA) is the opportunity for students around Los Angeles to test their endurance with challenging, weekly runs in their neighborhood to prepare for a 26.2 mile marathon in Los Angeles. Not only that, but for the seniors there is a great opportunity to receive a scholarship worth at least $500, to help pay for college tuition. Not only that, but the process of running the marathon has proven to be a stress reliever for students and teachers. This year, SRLA is being taught by counselor Ms. Ramos, and Spanish teacher Ms. Medina.
Returning senior Adolfo Armijo said he enjoys SRLA for the opportunities it gives.
“You do get a sponsored scholarship and just the overall experience of running brings me back,” Adolfo said. “You put on your earphone, run and just become relaxed. It’s a stress reliever to me.”
Other than this, some students found other motivations to join and continue running, some are motivated by hearing about other people who ran.
“My sister was in SRLA for two years and she told me about how she joined which gave me motivation to run,” said Junior Pedro Barreras.
Unfortunately, each year a few students sustain injuries during their runs at the park, come across intoxicated individuals, and were often harassed.
English teacher Ms. Siemientkowski said she witnessed these situations several times.
“We had a lot of unsafe conditions for students,” Siemientkowski said. “I had to deal frequently with older drunk or intoxicated, otherwise, men, who would harass our students. There were times we would have to cut practice short because things weren’t safe.”
Junior and current SRLA runner Shirley Zavala said she had been street harassed before at Washington Park.
“I ran there before to try out at my Freshman and Sophomore year,” Shirley said. “And both years I would get cat called, I would see what people are doing, and hear vulgar language towards othersn and felt really unsafe.”
Not only that, but Adolfo also said that due to running at Washington park, they were forced to breathe in smoke polluted air, instead of much needed fresh air.
Even students who had not run there were glad for this change due to the danger of being in Washington Park.
But now, this will all end with new rules being enforced, including a change in scenery. Even so, this was not the only positive of moving to Roosevelt Park, Ms. Ramos said that it also prevented student from having to cross over Firestone, which is a four lane road.
A safety precaution that was enforced was students having to wear some sort of SRLA gear. Counselor Ramos said it was to make sure students could be identified by herself and Spanish teacher Ms. Medina. Students on the other hand believe that although it is to be safe, it is uncomfortable for them.
Junior Esmeralda Hernandez said the shirts are would have already been worn, or not the right size. In agreement, Pedro Barreras said they were just really uncomfortable in general.
Some other minor changes in this new year include running every Saturday, on top of Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also there was the option of running one of two half marathons, when in previous years there was only one chance to run.
Despite all the new changes and new rules, students are still excited to try out for this year’s L.A. Marathon. It will help them build responsibility, discipline, and challenge themselves. It also will build strong relationships and sportsmanship with other people who are running as well.