Looking into staff members who run marathons

By: Gaby Quintero (Online Editor)

Five John F. Kennedy High School staff members ran the Los Angeles marathon this past month on March 24,2019 with Kennedy’s SRLA program. Although each staff member has a different job, they all have the motivation to run a marathon.

Gabriel Cedillo: Kennedy’s SRLA founder completed his 18th marathon last month. He was first introduced into running when his friend’s dad encouraged him to run a five mile trail. Since then, Cedillo has incorporated running into his lifestyle. He discovered SRLA back in 2005 and decided to start the club at Kennedy to give back to students who enjoyed running. Cedillo’s favorite memory from his first marathon was being able to run with his best friend.   

Cedillo’s training has improved over the years by adding interval and speed workouts. Cross-training and temple runs have been incorporated into his training as well to get him ready for the marathon. Since he began running, Cedillo has noticed that his mind has gotten healthier. Cedillo stated that “Running is the best psychology you can find,” because your mind becomes clearer after a run. Running allows him to release stress, making his mind healthier. Cedillo’s future goal is to qualify for the Boston marathon. His advice for students or staff interested in running a marathon is that they need to learn to listen to their body to prevent injuries. He also stated that setting your mind to an accomplishment is very important.

Maria Prado: This year marks Prado’s eighth marathon. She was encouraged to run a marathon back in 2011 when Gabriel Cedillo motivated her to continue Kennedy’s SRLA program when he was transferred to a new school. Prado decided to take on the challenge and has since then been the program’s main leader. Her favorite memory from her first marathon was being able to run with her son, who was also running his first marathon as a Kennedy senior.

As the years go by, it has gotten easier for Prado to keep a constant pace and control her breathing throughout her runs. This has resulted in a faster completion time each year, from finishing in seven hours to finishing in five hours. Running has brought Prado mental benefits such as relaxing after a long day and relieving some stress. Her future goals are to complete ten marathons and to continue running for as long as her body permits. Prado stated that running a marathon “takes commitment, but if you put your mind and heart into it, you can do it.” She is glad she is able to help Kennedy students accomplish their dream or goal of finishing a marathon.

Mary Cervantes: The 2019 LA marathon was Cervantes’ fifth marathon. She was motivated to run a marathon when her son and daughter completed one, telling her that “If they can do it, so can I.” The most memorable part of training for her first marathon was being asked if she was okay from seniors in the program. Students checking up on her constantly motivated her to do better.

Cervantes’ stamina and endurance has increased over the past five years of training. Her daughter also taught her how to increase her speed. She is able to run for a longer period of time without getting tired. A health benefit Cervantes has noticed since beginning to run is that she doesn’t get sick as often as she used to. Cervantes plans on continuing to run marathons for as long as she’s physically able to. Cervantes  reported that “You have to have a constant training schedule to be prepared for a marathon,” and believes anyone can train themselves to run a marathon.

Lourdes Garcia-Meza: This year Garcia-Meza ran her seventh marathon since 2010. She was first motivated to run a marathon because it was on her bucket list, however she ended up enjoying the experience and decided to continue running. Garcia-Meza took a year off because she was starting to feel like running was a chore instead of a hobby. Her favorite part of her first marathon was seeing her family at the finish line. Her family has continued to support her throughout her marathon journeys.

Garcia-Meza takes her training seriously so she becomes better prepared for each marathon. She used to have high cholesterol, however now she doesn’t have to worry about what she can and can’t eat. Running has normalized Garcia-Meza’s cholesterol levels and has taught her about how the body works. She stated that crossing-training and warming up/cooling up helps the body get used to the stress it undergoes during training. As of now, Garcia-Meza might not run anymore marathons due to the strain it has on her body. However, she plans on running half marathons. Her advice to anyone that plans on running a marathon is to, “listen to your body and [to] not forget to hydrate throughout the process.”

Irvin Castañeda: Last month Castañeda finished his second marathon. He first decided to challenge himself after an SRLA leader from another school encouraged him by talking about their experience. Castañeda’s favorite moments from his first marathon were the satisfaction of finishing a marathon, running with his brother, and having his family at the finish line. The feeling of finishing such a challenge was worth all the hard work he put into training.

Castañeda had a tough year because he got shin splints a couple months before the marathon. This taught him to invest in better running shoes, to listen to his body, and to work through the pain. He wasn’t going to let a little setback stop him from finishing the marathon. Castañda had to learn how to deal with injuries and other issues in order for him to continue training. Running has helped him deal with stress, clear his mind, and has given him more energy. Although Catañeda is a baseball player, he is more proud of his running medals than any of his baseball trophies because running a marathon is more challenging to him. He decided that he will only continue to run if his body lets him. Castañeda thinks running a marathon builds character and “is a healthy lifestyle to have.”

 Although finishing a marathon can be challenging, the health benefits outway the challenge for these strong Kennedy staff members.