Running as an Equalizer

Mr. Kepner at the Rogue Distance Festival 30k. Photo credit AzulOx Photography 

Mr. Kepner at the Rogue Distance Festival 30k. Photo credit AzulOx Photography 

Brendon Kepner is our Teacher Champion at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. 

 Marathon High is a program that transforms lives by giving students confidence. Most of the girls who start the program in the fall, aren’t entirely sure what they’re getting themselves into. Not all of them stick with it.

In the months, weeks, and days prior to the day of the Austin Marathon, the girls tell me and their coaches repeatedly how nervous they are, how uncertain they are that they’ll be able to finish. But they all (so far) have crossed the finish line. And when I greet them after the race, they are beaming with a smile that teachers rarely see.

My students write about running the marathon in their college essays. For many of them, it is one of their proudest achievements 

With all the implicit and explicit messages of sexism that girls endure, Marathon High is a program that teaches my students that they can do ANYTHING. They are also powerful, strong, and tough. And they see that running is an equalizer. No matter your gender, age, class, nationality, ability, or PR, we all strike the pavement with one foot at a time, we all run the same course, and we all get the same medal.

I wish I could also say that Marathon High puts my students on the path to a lifetime of health and well-being. But I guess it’s too soon to say for sure. What I do know is that students who ran the Marathon this year are hooked and 100% of those who ran the full marathon (and who are not graduating) are going to be back with us in September.

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