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Santa Clarita Track Club's Students Off And Running (SOAR) helps youth at risk living in Santa Clarita build life skills and establish healthy relationships with peers and adults through training for and competing in a Marathon.
SOAR establishes running groups at participating schools and implements a seven month training program. Each running group operates under the guidance of volunteer adult Coaches who role model commitment and perseverance by training mile for mile with student participants in preparation for the marathon. Coaches may be teachers, school staff or community members and need not have prior running experience. Running groups maintain a 6:1 student-Coach ratio allowing for valuable one-on-one adult-student interaction. Weekly goals are set in a non-competitive environment that stresses endurance building as opposed to speed. Starting with one mile the first week participants gradually run additional miles each week until they are prepared to take on the 26.2 mile course. During training, Coaches emphasize messages about nutrition, exercise, conditioning, injury prevention and general well-being. Coaches also use this time to mentor students and create a supportive environment where students can talk about personal, family and academic challenges and develop the confidence to apply themselves and overcome those challenges.
- Avrielle Smith
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