The 2007 Philadelphia Marathon took place on a bone-chilling, drizzly November day. But that didn't deter the endless string of blue T-shirted runners, signaling another Students Run Philly Style teen was tackling his or her first marathon. These are all kids who have turned to running to help them overcome the struggles of what can be a very tough life.
I saw them come by alone and in small groups. Some ran the whole thing, others interspersed walking breaks. All seemed destined to finish.
As one of the slower Philly Style teens came to the water stop at mile 25, she was walking. I offered her some refreshments to carry her through, but she shook her head and didn’t stop. I called after her: “This is your marathon. This is a big deal.” And she started running again. Not fast, but not tortured, either. I don’t know if she ran the rest of the way, but it certainly looked like she could.
If she applies that same determination to her journey through life, she will be capable of just about anything. And that’s the whole point of the program, which uses running to help kids imagine and accomplish goals well beyond their dreams.
The current race for SRPS is to win a share of $2.5 million in the American Express Members Project (for those who make a positive impact in the world). Help them make it to the Top 25 projects by casting your vote by Sept. 1.