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  • For the last five years I've been running races with kids. I meet with my students three days a week for nine months in preparation for a variety of races including the 10 mile Broad Street Run and the Philadelphia Marathon. I do this through a non-profit called Students Run Philly Style. It's an amazing program that provides inner-city youth with free running sneakers, race fees and mentors who run alongside their students for the running season. Before this season I ran 6 half marathons and 4 Broad Street Runs. I was completely satisfied with the idea of never running a marathon...until this year.

    In May, after we had run the Broad Street Run, one of my students came up to me; a kid who I'd been running with for the last 2 years, and said "Ms. Lauer, it's time we run the marathon." I thought she was crazy and I didn't think I would do it. We kept talking about it and soon enough there were 3 more students who wanted to do it as well. I still thought I would never do this so I placated them for as long as I could with "we'll see".

    Over the summer we started adding mileage to our long runs until one day in September I found myself running 15 miles, the most I had ever run. I looked over at one of my students and said "we're really doing this, aren't we?". Her response was "yes". On November 18th I ran 26.2 miles and crossed the finish line with three of my students hand in hand. It was one of the most intense, emotional experiences I have ever had. When we crossed that finish line, we not only ran a marathon, we realized our potential. No matter what goal we set, no matter what obstacles we face, no challenge is beyond our reach. What a powerful message to send to four fourteen & fifteen year olds. I know they will never forget that moment and neither will I.
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