9th Annual Run for Education: Running for Self, Family, and Community

With the morning dew still visible and the day’s heat pressing, the 9th annual Run for Education held on Sunday March 10th welcomed nearly 1,300 participants to run 5k or 10k or walk 3k. Participants included children and students of all ages, faculty, staff, alumni, community members and families. Touted as a race for the whole family certainly rang true.

In the planning stages of this year’s race, the Alumni Relations department from the Institutional Advancement office worked closely with ASDeporte, a sports events organizer. Under the leadership of Anakarina Piña, the event to promote health, sportsmanship and community, sold out all 1,300 registrations. Piña explains the success, “Run for Education is a team effort. ASDeporte helps us by organizing the race: making a registration platform, informing the Alcaldía of the race, welcoming runners with their packets, and recording track of results.”

Through an organizing committee of volunteers, sponsors were acquired and the event was strategically planned and promoted. Dalia Aliphas, ASF parent, chaired the race organizing committee and came in first place in the race under her category. Members included ASF parents Héctor Coss, Karen Sánchez (‘91), Marissa Russell (‘92), María Moreno, Milko Rivera (‘89), Paulina Silva (‘89), Lorenza Pallares Herrera Lasso, and Diane Clement, ASF Running Coach and Middle School Activity Specialist, and León Merikanskas (‘93), founder of the Run for Education. The funds raised during the event support ASF’s endowment fund for financial aid.

Sunday morning brought the entire ASF community out to run, walk, and cheer. Diane Clement, ASF Running Coach, and Kennedi, grade 8 student, warmed up the crowd with enthusiastic stretches and motivational mantras. The duo practiced leading up to the run. Kennedi who is a three-year member of the ASF Running Team explains, “I was initially nervous leading the warm up for the crowd, but once I got comfortable, it was no different than doing the warm up with the team.” Clement shared she felt right at home, “I love motivating people. Give me a headset and a stage and I am very happy.”

Diane Clement and Lauren Walters

While individuals registered for a variety of reasons, several registrants made the Run for Education a family affair. Martha Lozada, grade 4 Lower School teacher, started running in 2015. Since then she had become a veteran runner and participant in the Run for Education. “I started with the 5k, and now run the 10k.” Lozada explained. However, this year she opted, under her doctor’s orders to walk the 3k. “I was training for this race and I twisted my ankle. I was so upset. Last year I came in third and I wanted to do better this year.” In spite of her injury, a new-found opportunity presented itself and Lozada walked with her mother-in-law, Ricky, her eight-year-old son and grade 2 student, while her husband Angel ran the 10k. “I was a bit emotional when the race started and everyone was running, but it was really nice to spend time with my family and show them how a race event happens.” Lozada started the Lower School Running Club this year with five members. Currently the club has 22 members with five members actually running in the race. “I am so proud of them. This was their first race.” Lozada is planning on returning to running when she is fully healed.

Newlyweds, Lauren Walters, Upper School English teacher and Assistant Running Coach, and John Brown, Upper School History teacher and Department Chair, registered for the race together – she committed to the 5k and he to the 10k. At an elevation of 2,200 feet the race is challenge for all runners; nevertheless, both were surprised by their results. She ran the 5k in 31 minutes, her personal best, earning her a second place trophy in her category. “This is the first trophy I’ve ever won for an athletic pursuit in my whole life. Winning a medal felt absolutely incredible. It was more than just getting second place in my age/gender category. It was the first medal I've won for athletics in my life, where I was singled out as doing something on my own that was actually competitive. My trophy is proof that anyone can do anything if they are willing to work for it.” Walters proudly shared. Brown finished his 10k in 54 minutes, earning his personal best time.  

Lauren Walters and John Brown

The Munson family made it a family day. Mom, Roxanne, Dad, Eugene, older sister, Nyomi, grade 10 student, and youngest sister Kennedi, grade 8 student, came to enjoy the race. While Dad, Nyomi, and Kennedi prepared for the race, Roxanne busied around the track photographing and documenting the race – she is the ASF Running Team photographer and team mom. Dad is a seasoned runner, as parents, they encourage their daughters to be involved in athletics, Dad explains, “My wife and I ask our daughters to participate in a sport to maintain a healthy balance and have experiences as team-mates with other students. My older daughter plays volleyball and my youngest daughter, Kennedi, runs track.” On this day, Dad, Nyomi, and Kennedi ran the 10k. Dad improved his time by two minutes from last year but was bested by his 14-year-old daughter Kennedi, who ran as an exception in the 16 to 19-year-old category, took first place in the category finishing the race in 52 minutes. Dad openly admits that Kennedi is now faster than he is but happily concedes, “I am proud of her.”

Diane Clement started her Run for Education several months prior. As a veteran runner and fitness expert, Clement’s voice on the Organizational Committee was welcomed. Her involvement in the race far exceeded her actual best time on this particular track in the Run for Education. Clement is the JV and Varsity Running Coach. She is friend and coach to many teachers and staff who aspire to get into shape through running. Martha Lozada, Lauren Walters, and Kennedi Munson attribute their successes in running and fitness to Clement’s coaching and support. “I cannot express my gratitude for her for always encouraging me, teaching me the ropes of running, and sharing her mindset and mantras with me. Her positive attitude has rubbed off on me and our whole running team. She makes running fun.” Walters shared. Clement ran her personal best for this course and came in third in her category. Her husband also ran his personal best for this course and came in fifth in his category.

The ASF Running Team

As a running coach, Clement is proud of the results of the race posted by hers and Walter’s Running Team. “I am always trying to create runners and triathletes.” This passion for running is evident in the results of those whom she coaches. The ASF Running Team posted several top spots in their categories in the 16 to 19-year-old category. In the 5k, the top three spots were secured by the Running Team members: First, Rika Kariya, grade 11; second, María Cancino, grade 6; third, Alessandra Therivel, grade 6. Roberto Ducoing, grade 11 took third place. In the 10k, Kennedi Munson, grade 8 finished first and Carlo Demesa, grade 12, took third place in his.

The race opened its doors to all those interested and many came. At 7:00 a.m., the first group in the 3k began and 20 minutes later the runners in the 5k and the 10k races began. The courses began and ended on the Upper School Field. Each track took the runners into Chapultepec Park. The 5k posted five water stations while the 10k, which went deep into the park, posted 10. Rika Kariya, who ran the 5k and came in first in her category was a bit leery of the way back, “I was worried I wouldn’t have enough energy. The front part of the race is all downhill. Which meant the back side is all up hill, so I was worried if I would be able to keep my pace and make my time.” Other runners had to negotiate the same concern and much more. According to Lozada, “Running is more mental than physical. You have to convince yourself you can when your body says you can’t.” Lozada, Walters, and the running team use running mantras to move them past those mental and physical blocks. They attribute many of those mantras to Clement. She shared a few of these she used with the Running Team too, “These are my favorites:  I love eating hills for breakfast. Don't stop when you are tired. Stop when you're done. Finish on empty. Pass fast. End the race with no regrets.”

Next year will mark the 10th annual Race for Education. With old and new mantras motivating runners, the lessons learned this year will continue to inform future races improving the event for all. At the root of each race is to unite and promote the ASF community: mind, body, and soul.

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