Only a small fraction (about 0.17%) of the population has run a marathon. Now, 18 Pasadena Unified School District students from Blair School are part of the elite few after completing the 2023 LA Marathon.
Eight high school students and 10 middle schoolers started training in August with Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA). They started with a 5k in September and increased the distance each month since then.
Breck Sequeira, a 10th-grade runner, said his team was like a family running by his side.
“The hardest part of running is mostly happening mentally,” said Sequeira, who is 16 years old. “You must keep going and that is where it gets really tough. The most rewarding part is saying that you have done something that less than 1% of the world’s population has done and you did it as a student, a teenager.”
This is Sequeira’s fourth time completing the marathon. He is also a straight-A student, takes AP calculus, runs cross-country and competes in track and field. He plans to continue running marathons until at least senior year.
This is Blair’s ninth season with SRLA, one of only a few schools outside of Los Angeles and the only school from the San Gabriel Valley.
“It takes a lot of willpower to push through the miles, especially once you get to double digits,” said 13-year-old Eduardo Maroto Campos, who is one Blair’s youngest runners and came in first for the team, finishing the marathon at 3:58.
“So far, the two times I’ve done the marathon I’ve learned a new lesson about myself and also about life,” Maroto Campos said.
Blair’s 8th-grader Aurora Patlan has also completed two marathons.
“It was very challenging but so worth it in the end. I enjoyed running with friends while also training for something that is very important,” said Patlan, who is 14 years old. “The hardest part is the mental challenge of starting the run. There are many times when my head worries a lot and tells me that I won’t be able to finish it, but you just have to push those negative thoughts away and focus on what you’re doing.”
Coaches Veronica Yepez and Eric Glenn, who both teach at Blair, are incredibly proud of the focus and determination displayed by the entire team.
“If they can run a marathon, they can do whatever their hearts desire,” said Yepez, who also teaches for Blair’s International Academy. “It is an honor to share the course with our kids and the reason for our program.”
Glenn, who also teaches math, added: “I would not be running marathons, or running at all, if it was not for the students that we run with. They inspire me to keep going, and they are the ones that keep me coming back each and every year.”
For more information about PUSD, visit pusd.us.