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Students Run LA nonprofit works to replace shoes for kids after a burglary


For decades now, the nonprofit Students Run LA has trained thousands of middle and high schoolers to run the LA Marathon.

MARSHA CHARNEY: Students Run LA is a marathon training program, basically, teaching discipline and character-building through training for and completing the Los Angeles Marathon.


That's Marsha Charney, the organization's executive director. Each year, the group provides students with a running coach, and they place them in a training group. And in December, about three months before marathon day, they hand each student a brand new pair of running shoes.

CHARNEY: Most of our students are in low-income neighborhoods, and most of them are not runners. Many of them have never run a mile, that come into this program. We know that they're very happy to have a really good pair of tennis shoes because most of them can't afford to buy really good running shoes.

INSKEEP: By the time they reach the starting line at Dodger Stadium on that early Sunday morning in March, they are ready to take on the 26.2-mile marathon course. But this is where our story really begins because Students Run LA had a problem last month. Thieves broke into the nonprofit storage facility twice.

CHARNEY: Over 500 pairs of shoes were stolen.

MARTIN: Those Nike running shoes were meant for the students. Charney says she was in a state of shock when she heard. The only good thing has been the people in LA, she said.

CHARNEY: I guess if there's a silver lining to anything like this, it is the fact that we have just had such community outreach. So we're very grateful. And it does make you feel better that people have noticed and feel badly that this has happened.

INSKEEP: So the group is working out how to replace what was stolen.

CHARNEY: We are confident we will have shoes for everyone. We will make sure that the students have everything they need. It just means more effort. But we have a great crew, and everyone will do their part.

MARTIN: In a written response to NPR, Nike said it will, quote, "continue to partner with Students Run LA to make sure all of the student participants have the running shoes they need for the 2022-23 school year as they train for the LA Marathon."

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMON MARKET SONG, "SLOW CURE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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