The Official Blog of the LA Marathon

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlights: Featured Charities — Students Off and Running (SOAR) & Corazon de Vida

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Students Off and Running (SOAR)
Featured Charity: Corazon de Vida

KeevaThe Road Less Traveled

“Coach, I don’t know if I can make it.” She said it plainly as her eyes welled with tears.

It was Mile 22, and 16 year old Priscilla had just “hit the wall”, a term used by long distance runners to describe a complete and utter meltdown of mind, body, and spirit. As I assessed her condition, trying to find words of encouragement, I reflected on the day’s events. Priscilla was having a tough day. Blistered by Mile 6 and bandaged by Mile 10, Priscilla had become dehydrated and listless by Mile 19, and now at 22, more than 6 hours into the race, she stood at the edge of the abyss, dangerously close to heat exhaustion.

“Listen kid, I believe in you. This is just another race, and you and I are going to finish this one together. We’re almost home. You own this thing. Don’t let it beat you.”

She hung her head for a moment, then met my gaze and managed a smile. And in that moment, I knew that she had dug deep, and found the strength and inner courage to achieve the impossible.

Priscilla finished the ASICS LA Marathon on Sunday in 7 hours 22 minutes and 5 seconds, forever changed, and you, my friends, were with us every step of the way. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Of the 25,000 or so official registrants, just over 17,000 would complete the full 26.2 . The winner would cross the line in just under 2 hours 14 minutes, receive a check for $100,000 dollars, and drive home in a new car.

As for me, I’ll keep my 7:22, the memories of one kid’s courage, and a smile shared at 22.
- SOAR Head Coach Kevin Sarkissian

The Santa Clarita Track Club’s SOAR program offers a six month 380 mile, marathon training experience to local youth in need ages 13-18 at no cost to participants or their families. Students committing to the 24 week training season are covered for all event registration fees, equipment, transportation, and training supplies at a cost of approximately $1,000 per participant.  Weekly goals are set in a non-competitive environment that stresses ‘the finish’ over ‘the win’.  Starting with a single mile, participants add miles each week until they are prepared to take on the 26.2 mile ASICS LA Marathon.

During training, coaches emphasize personal commitment, nutrition, conditioning, injury prevention, and general well-being.

Sponsor a SOAR student as they take the road less traveled:

Contact Info: Kevin Sarkissian, Director / Head Coach,   661-877-7024



What Inspires Daniel Sandoval, Marathon Runner and Long-time CDV volunteer to run for TEAM CDV?

“Running a marathon was on my bucket list for several years. Each year would pass and I’d tell myself I’d do it the following year.  But, when Corazon De Vida asked me to run the LA Marathon to raise money for the children, I knew that my time had come to step up and take on this challenge. What better way to accomplish a personal goal than to pair it with an important cause.  I ran the marathon with all of my heart and soul because I knew it would create an opportunity for these children to do great things in their life. With a strong enough reason people can accomplish anything their heart’s desire. I found my reason and I can hold on to that accomplishment for the rest of my life. You have more to gain by saying yes. Believe in yourself and make a difference!”

This year, each TEAM CDV runner will be assigned a child to run for and have a photo of their child to pin on their running Jersey.  Runners will even have an opportunity to meet their child in person!

Be a “HERO” to a child and join TEAM CDV!

Sponsor Daniel Sandoval to run the LA Marathon!

About Corazon de Vida Foundation

Since 1994, Corazón de Vida (“CDV”) has been supporting children that are orphaned, abandoned or neglected, living in orphanages in Baja, Mexico.  These orphanages represent a better alternative to living on the streets or under dangerous and abusive circumstances.  There is no government support for these orphanages, as Mexico does not have the same child welfare systems that exist in the US.

CDV’s focus is to provide life-sustaining support as well as hope, compassion and love. CDV not only financially supports orphanages in Baja, but also provides assistance through frequent cross-border visits by board members, staff, and volunteers.

We believe that every child’s life is valued and holds the same potential, excitement and opportunity as any other life. It is up to us to work together to make sure our care transforms into each child’s hope for the future.  Carlos is a great example of how volunteers can make a difference and help transform the lives of the children and in turn transform their own lives.

Hilda Pacheco-Taylor,, (949) 476-1144 x 3.

Volunteer feedback:

Join us on a trip to visit the kids!


November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Featured Charities — Train 4 Autism & Students Run LA

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Train 4 Autism
Featured Charity: Students Run LA

Train 4 AutismTrain 4 Autism is dedicated to bringing together a community of athletes, physically active, and socially conscious people who are committed to raising awareness and funds for research and treatment for those living with Autism and their families. Fund raising and volunteer opportunities for individual athletes, teams and entire families include cycling, walks, triathlons, swimming, and running events.

Today, there are many treatment centers and research programs doing vital work, and carrying different yet important messages and missions. Train 4 Autism provides the infrastructure, technology, and support for participants to raise funds and contribute to these programs.

Featured Runner – Parent Jeanine Gaston  & First time Marathoner

Why am I running the ASICS LA Marathon 2014? Because I’m crazy? No, because I love someone with Autism. I started walking in early 2011 to raise money and awareness for Autism. My first half marathon was that same year. I’ve since completed 8 halves now, running most of them. I’m happy to say I’m not the same person I was when I started this adventure. Running has been a great release for me. It’s not easy, but makes me feel good about me and the reason I run. My reason will be 16 years old when I run LA. His name is Logan and he is one of the bravest young men I know. Logan is high functioning autistic. He is smart, funny, and handsome. I see sides of him that many people don’t get to see. Logan is not very social, and has had to deal with kids making fun of him and being bullied. It’s gotten better as he gets older. He is learning ways to cope. I’m taking on his attitude for the marathon. I figure to run 26.2 miles will not be easy for me, but neither is life walking in Logan’s shoes. If he can deal with Autism every day of his life I can train and learn to deal with pain for 26.2 miles. My run will be 100% for Logan. It’s why I run. My bib will say just that, too, “4 Logan.”

Join us or Donate at Train 4 Autism


Students Run LA…Training For A Marathon…Training For LifeSRLA Photo

25 years running! Since 1989, SRLA has trained more than 51,000 middle and high school youth from all over the greater LA area, to prepare them to complete the ASICS LA Marathon. While running is the core activity of the program, SRLA students learn that hard work, discipline, and perseverance lead to success, both at the marathon and in life.

SRLA’s success is both staggering and a tradition! Every year, more than 90% of the students who attempt the marathon complete it. In March 2013, 99% of our 3,184 SRLA runners did so! Even more impressively, every year, more than 90% of the seniors who run the ASICS LA Marathon with SRLA graduate from high school. In June 2013, 99% of our 693 seniors did so! 

This season over 3200 students will run with teachers at their school who volunteer to train with and mentor them. The students are active ten hours a week, on average, and learn to love running and being physically active. SRLA must raise $300 per student and what that buys is priceless…

Bartolo at Manual Arts HS wrote “My involvement in Students Run LA has set me apart from bad influences and it has influenced me in getting better grades.”

Daniel at Santa Monica HS wrote, “While participating in Students Run LA I have lost weight…I have also become a leader to my sisters as I run with them weekly and push them to hopefully have them complete a marathon.”

Michelle at Aspire Pacific Academy wrote “I really liked the fact that running helped me clear my thoughts, and it also helped me release frustration and pain that had accumulated inside me.”

Be a part of the celebration of 25 YEARS RUNNING! With your generous contributions, our students will become marathoners, graduates, and productive members of our community!

Go to for information on hot to get involved and how you can sponsor one of our student runners to complete the ASICS LA Marathon, or contact Nikki Carelli at (818) 654-3360 and

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Featured Charities — Kitten Rescue & Fulfillment Fund

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Kitten Rescue
Featured Charity: Fulfillment Fund

Kitten RescueHelp Kitten Rescue save homeless animals!

Kitten Rescue is a volunteer run, no-kill animal rescue organization whose mission is to advocate for abandoned cats of Los Angeles through rescue, rehabilitation and placement. As one of the largest rescue groups in Los Angeles we place approximately 1000 cats (and some dogs) into loving homes every year.  Since our inception, Kitten Rescue has placed over 14000 animals and helped many more lead better lives through our community programs. Most of our animals are fostered, but we also have a sanctuary where we house approximately 150 special needs cats. We currently care for over 1500 animals.

You can help Kitten Rescue save more homeless animals by running or walking the ASICS LA Marathon, Charity Relay or LA Big 5K! 

All participants will receive a Team Kitten Rescue shirt just for signing up! Marathon and Charity Relay participants can enjoy a Dodger Suite on race day along with our family reunion hotel room at the end of the race. Being a part of Team Kitten Rescue is an awesome experience. You will meet fellow animal lovers and athletes. We will have team meet and greets, group fundraisers and a team wrap party at the end of it all to celebrate your achievement! To see what Team Kitten Rescue is all about watch our video from last years’s marathon here:

We will help you fundraise! For more information about Team Kitten Rescue and fundraising incentives visit our website at

To sponsor Team Kitten Rescue in the 2014 ASICS LA Marathon go to

For more information on how to join our team and get our special invitation code contact our Team Coordinator at



Meet David, a 3rd time runner with Team Fulfillment Fund

David Hughes first became involved with the Fulfillment Fund by volunteering as a mentor. In this role, David helped guide a student through the path to high school graduation and into college.

After his experience as a mentor, David sought other ways to get involved and eventually joined the Leadership Council. Currently, David is President of the Leadership Council. Under his guidance, the Leadership Council has not only grown in size, but its support for the Fulfillment Fund has also grown.

For David, however, running the ASICS LA Marathon is not just about the money that it raises. “Team Fulfillment Fund fully embodies the core mission of The Fund,” says David Hughes. “By realizing our personal dreams of running the ASICS LA Marathon, we help our students realize their collective dreams of achieving a college education and being successful in their careers to help break the cycle of missed opportunity holding back so many kids in our community.  I can’t wait to run my 4th ASICS LA Marathon and 3rd with Team Fulfillment Fund.”

Team Fulfillment Fund

The Fulfillment Fund’s Leadership Council began fielding an ASICS LA Marathon team two years ago.  Team Fulfillment Fund returns for a third time in the 2014 ASICS LA Marathon, poised to grow participation and dollars raised to make college a reality for more students.  In 2013, the team was 72 members strong, made up of runners from all levels completing both the full marathon and relay events.  To our members, the ASICS LA Marathon has become a catalyst for action, with $56,000 raised by the team last year.

The Fulfillment Fund

The Fulfillment Fund is one of LA’s most successful educational non-profit organizations, making the dream of college a reality for Angelenos for over 35 years. Offering a college prep curriculum, mentorships, scholarships and support, the Fulfillment Fund provides college access to students, the majority of whom are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

To learn more, join our team or donate, please visit: or contact

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Premier Charities — Lupus LA

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Premiere Charity: Lupus LA

2013 5K and Marathon 342014 will mark the 5th year that Team Lupus LA has been participating in the ASICS LA Marathon. Formerly known as Team Life Without Lupus, Team Lupus LA has a new look and a new attitude! Lupus LA is proud to be a premier charity of the ASICS LA Marathon and uses this wonderful community event as a way to spread awareness.

Team Lupus LA is a group of walkers and runners who are dedicated to the important cause of raising awareness and funds for lupus patients and research. We provide our team with free training by certified trainers, fun incentives, and lots of encouragement along the way. Each year the team continues to grow and we hope that you will consider joining us! Team Lupus LA participates in the 5K, Charity Relay, and the marathon.

You may or may not know someone who has lupus. You may not even know what lupus is! But chances are that someone close to you may know all too well. Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans, and over 60,000 people in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Yet, because of the complexities surrounding a lupus diagnosis, many individuals choose to hide their illness.

A big part of Lupus LA’s mission is to spread awareness about this chronic, incurable disease, and to help give a voice to lupus patients everywhere. Lupus is more prevalent than AIDS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. It can affect any organ in the body, and is the leading cause of kidney disease, stroke and premature cardiovascular disease in young women. To learn more about lupus, please visit our website:

In addition to raising awareness, Lupus LA raises funds for its patient services programs, local rheumatology fellowships and research partner, the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) – the world’s leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus.

If you would like to join the fun and support Team Lupus LA, please email Megan Hatch, Special Events Manager, at For more information about our programs, including support groups and patient conferences, please contact the Lupus LA office at 310-657-5667.

October 25, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Featured Charities — Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Hirshberg Foundation-Jonathan_Charity HighlightIn 2013 the Hirshberg Foundation had its largest training team to date at the LA Marathon. Team member Jonathan Moerschel describes his story of resilience.

I came across the Hirshberg Foundation’s LA Cancer Challenge in 2010 and knew right away that I had to get involved. It was the first time I found an organization that was dedicated solely to pancreatic cancer.  I ran my first 5k that year, the longest distance I’d run in my life. It was an emotional experience for me as I thought about why I was running and raising money for the foundation.  My first wife Eugenie lost her brave battle in 2003 after fighting the disease for 5 years. She was a wonderful pianist, my best friend and my musical partner. It felt really good to finally be able to do something to help in the fight against cancer.  Little did I know that running that 5k back in 2010 would lead me to do something I vowed I would never do: run a marathon. 

I began training for the 2012 event and after our first training run I realized I had a lot of work to do! I also realized I was getting involved with a really great group of people.  We had great support and encouragement from everyone at Hirshberg and from our coaches.  

The outpouring of support from the volunteers who lined the streets really helped keep my spirits up.  Approaching the Foundation’s Purple Cheer Station at Mile 21 with dozens of cheering supporters in purple clothes was an extraordinary experience that brought tears to my eyes.  That moment was a reminder of my loss, but also a beacon of hope for the future of those that are fighting cancer. Running the marathon for pancreatic cancer gives the experience real purpose for me.       

I know that while I am sore and tired, it is a small sacrifice if I can help make a difference for someone in the future.  I am very proud to be a member of the Hirshberg Training Team and run the LA Marathon in memory of Eugenie, and in support of pancreatic cancer research.

Founded in 1997, The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing pancreatic cancer research, and providing information, resources, and support to pancreatic cancer patients and their families.

Contact: Sarah Banks, Development Coordinator (310) 473-5121  or visit

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