On June 4, Grace Lu, Sophia Huang, Katherine Huynh, and I went to Harder Elementary School in Hayward to help set up a 5K and to distribute shoes to the students in the running program there.
When we first arrived, the kids were still in class. We helped the staff set up the 5K race, which was held as a marker to the end of the five-week running program around 30 to 40 of the school’s students had participated in. This included putting up banners, helping set up the start line, and preparing certificates and medals for the runners.
Then, we gave out running shoes to the students that were donated by the ASICS sports equipment company. To me, this was especially rewarding as the kids became extremely excited. One of the staff members had informed us that some of the girls would show up to the running program in mere boots from Kmart; I was really glad that we were giving them something they had no access to previously.
Then, the race began. Grace, Katie, and I ran a few laps with the kids, before stopping early to help pass out medals. Around the course, stations were set up with other students helping pass out water or holding up posters they had made encouraging their fellow classmates.
What impressed me most was the honesty the kids had. We were unable to keep track of the laps, but regardless, the runners were always honest about how many laps they had run. They didn’t lie in order to stop early or to get their medal faster — they genuinely put all their effort into completing the 5K, even if they had to stop periodically for walking or water and even if they were tired.
I was touched by the children’s hard work and dedication and how joyful they looked when they received their medals. Their happiness very much reflected how I feel myself when I complete races in cross country and track, and reminded me of my own passion for running. It reminded me of how I wanted to continue to share this passion with others, which is why I’m excited the Shoes that Inspire program.