What: Volunteer adult runners needed
Where: Running Them In – Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon
When: February 14, 2016
Background: The Running Them In project started in 2007 for Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA) students who are running at a slower pace and need extra support at the end of the day to help them to finish the last few miles of the Marathon. Volunteer adult runners (must be at least 21 years old) join students at Mile 22, and complete the last 4.2 miles of the Marathon with them. These last miles are extremely challenging, both mentally and physically, for SRLA students who have already been on the Marathon course for five hours or more. SRLA matches the volunteers up with a student runner at Mile 22, and they walk, jog, and/or run the remainder of the race together. The volunteer and student cross the finish line together, then walk through the finish area and continue to the SRLA staging area, where a warm meal and a finisher sweatshirt await the students. The companionship and enthusiasm of the Running Them In volunteers has helped many SRLA students through these last few miles to complete the Marathon.
Plans for 2016: Adult volunteers for the Running Them In program must sign up with Christine Pajak in the SRLA Office (email@example.com) to participate in the program. Sign-ups begin on January 11, 2016 and continue through February 5, 2016. Volunteers need to arrive at the SRLA staging area in Santa Monica on the morning of the Marathon, sign in with SRLA, sign a waiver, and receive a special Volunteer t-shirt so that students can recognize them as part of the SRLA program. The volunteers travel by bus with SRLA staff to Mile 22. They are then assigned a student to run with by SRLA staff, and accompany the student to the finish line, through the finish area and back to the staging area where SRLA checks each student in. Volunteers are asked to check out with SRLA staff before they leave.
The Running Them In Experience: Volunteers in the past have thoroughly enjoyed their experience. Volunteers need not be fast runners, but do need to be enthusiastic about meeting and spending an hour or so with a teenager. Volunteers jog over to a struggling student, introduce themselves, and ask if they can finish the race with the student. They chat, encourage, rest/walk/stretch with the student and help him/her finish the race.
Impact of Volunteering for Running Them In: The SRLA Leaders report that both students and their parents are relieved to learn that this extra help will be out on the course during the Marathon. The SRLA Leaders have also reported that the Running Them In volunteers truly enabled many of their students to finish the Marathon. Some of their comments were:
- “What a wonderful idea and please thank all those wonderful volunteers…I (had) a couple of students who (needed) that extra push.”
- “The best idea yet.”
- “Mile 22 program was SIGNIFICANT in getting our students across the finish line.”
- “Parents thought the ‘Running Them in’ program was a positive, safe and nurturing component during the marathon.”
Editor’s Note: Above are excerpts from promotional material provided by Students Run Los Angeles. You will also find this volunteer event on kpcares.org.