By Victoria Navarro
Running full speed to the finish line, pausing to catch his breath, and visualizing his supportive friends who give you a source of motivation are all moments that senior Brandon Hayman experiences in his life.
Hayman’s running journey began when he started running and training individually and with his track group from Nobel Middle School, Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA). Compared to when he first started running, Hayman’s running abilities have dramatically improved physically and mentally.
Hayman decided to start running in 2010 when he was in sixth grade. For his first year at SRLA, Hayman spent his time training with his friends.
At first, Hayman considered himself to be the slowest person on the team because other runners would constantly surpass him. Moreover, despite his one year of training with others, Hayman endured several struggles when he participated in his first marathon, the Los Angeles Marathon.
“All I wanted to see was the finish line and get the race over with. I moved slower and slower with each mile that passed by. The runs I did for a minute turned into ten seconds at best, and one minute walks turned into ten minute crawls,” Hayman said.
However, Hayman still had motivation to run, considering that the marathon would test his abilities as a runner. Also, it allowed him to see his improvements from when he first started. With the results of the marathon, Hayman decided that there was still plenty of space to improve.
During his free time, Hayman would run a few miles on a weekly basis, but slowly increased his running distance over a period of time. After a while, he began to run three times a week. He had a drastic improvement in his mile times compared to when he first started. In just two years, Hayman became the fastest person in the group. Throughout his training, Hayman refused to give up on improving himself.
“As long as you have the heart and soul to run and are willing to dedicate the time and effort while maintaining a patience for the sport, I promise you you will improve with time,” Hayman said.
After staying with the group for several years, Hayman was promoted to being a SRLA leader in his junior year. In his group, Hayman is in charge of ten or more middle schoolers who share the same passion for running. His position in SLRA allowed him to hone his leadership skills because his job required him to take care of his trainees.
“Over the course of the year, I have come to really bond with the kids and it makes me the happiest getting to see them finish their first marathon, the one that I had the honor to train them for,” Hayman said.
Running has also taught him the potential he has to succeed. Although Hayman struggled at some points, he found ways to maintain his motivation and positivity. Throughout the years, instead of creating outrageous goals, Hayman created small stepping stones that helped him get to where he is today.
“I give all my thanks and love to SRLA, all of the parents and teachers who dedicate their time and effort to help the children succeed, and the kids themselves for following through with such a huge commitment that changes their lives forever,” Hayman said.