On June 4, 2018, members of the HLFY team visited Harder elementary school in Hayward, California, to present the kids with brand new ASICS running shoes and celebrate their long weeks of after-school running training with a 5K race.
Securing brand new running shoes for the 40 kids participating at Harder was definitely not an easy task. Through reaching out to many, many large shoe companies, we were finally able to obtain brand new running shoes for the kids through the kindness of ASICS! Two incredibly compassionate individuals at ASICS communicated with us and sent a shipment of brand new youth running shoes straight to the elementary school. Without their support, all the kids may not have been able to receive new shoes and participate in the running training program. The pure look of joy on their faces when they were called up to claim their new shoes was so gratifying and would not have been made possible without the support of ASICS.
When our team arrived at Harder at approximately 1:30 pm, we met with the school advisors and administrators and began to help set up for the event. The students get out of school at 2:45 pm, leaving us with a little more than a hour to coordinate the running prizes, decorate the photo props, and organize the running site with the proper supplies such as the finish line, chairs, and refreshments.
When the kids came out at 2:45, they first warmed up with a few warm-up laps and stretches while our team continued to set up. When they finished, everyone gathered at the finish/start line location and after a short introduction, we began to distribute the new shoes to all the kids. We called out each recipient’s name, and the kids would step up to obtain their shoes. All of their faces were so excited, and it was truly heart warming to see each and every one of their reactions.
Shortly aftr the shoe delivery was complete, the kids immediately lined up at the starting line and off they went to begin their 5k race. A 5k is 3.1 miles, and at this particular school site that meant six laps around the grass perimeter of the school. Our team joined in with the kids after lap 2 to lead and encourage them throughout the way. Although the majority of the kids had to take a few breaks and walk during the race, I am beyond happy to state that each and every kid had the confidence and dedication to complete the whole race distance. As cliché as the old saying goes, slow and steady truly does win the race. Not only did all of the kids finish the race, but they were totally honest about how much distance they had remaining. I distinctly remember running along a few kids who told us that they still had 2 laps to go and weren’t the least bit discouraged that the majority of their peers had already finished the race. They were going with their own flow and had the courage to keep going and not care about what others may think.
At the end of the race, we greeted each racer with their own hand-designed medal. Below is a picture of the medal.
I believe that the medal really gave each participant a confidence boost and hopefully can serve as a reminder of accomplishment and how hard work pays off for each and every racer. Al in all, life is about living every moment to the fullest and having the courage to step out of your comfort zone, which is what I believe all the kids did today and I couldn’t be any prouder.