Bell On The Run

Students Run LA helps Bell students develop life skills and train their bodies to run long distances. They also learn to help others in need.

Bell On The Run

Valerie Sandoval, Sports Staff Writer

Students Run Los Angeles, known as SRLA, is a nonprofit program that helps middle and high school students train for the LA marathon.

Math teacher Gabriel Sanchez also runs these marathons.

“We do character building right from the beginning so it’s not just about running the marathon,“  Sanchez said. “It teaches the kids to build up discipline.” 

When he was a kid, Sanchez’s father was his inspiration to run. Sanchez asked his father why he ran so much, so his father challenged him to run as well, and try to become better than him. During high school, Sanchez ran cross country and got some scholarships. He had a really good time running and was able to build up self-confidence and make many friendships.

Sanchez encourages students to also run and to participate in the marathons because he wants his students to be able to enjoy and accomplish something most people can’t do.

On March 20, 2022, 36 students and eight adults from Bell High participated in the LA Marathon, but before they can run the marathon there are practices and projects students do to help them develop.

Although the main focus of the marathon is running, students are taught to give back and become better people overall.

For example, on October 27, 2019, the SRLA Cares which is a program that creates little projects to raise social, environmental, and community awareness had a project where students collected pennies. That money gained was donated to the United Cerebral palsy. 

“One penny by itself might not be significant but if you take a bunch of pennies from a bunch of people you end up getting a lot of money that could be used for a lot of good things,” Sanchez said. 

They also collected pasta and donated it to support MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity) which is a program meant to help those in need. On March 8, 2020, they had a race dedicated to learning the importance of giving back.

Senior Estefanie Garrido participated in past marathons. The March 20, 2022 race was her fifth one. She has autism and during an 18-mile race, which is the last event done before running the marathon, she wanted to give up. 

“I had a lot of self-doubt and thoughts about me forcing myself to do it,“ Estefanie said.

Luckily Math teacher Sanchez chatted with her for a while and was able to convince her to stay with the program and keep practicing. 

Back in middle school, Estefanie got the opportunity to run during summer school.

“It’s not that difficult as long as you have a good team and coach,“ Estefanie said.

Estefanie was able to finish her 5th marathon and received a medal for her accomplishments.

“It’s not about how fast they are. The goal is to finish the marathon,” Sanchez said.