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Storm Survivors.
 SOAR 2011 Enjoys Sunnier Days After Having Successfully Completed the 26.2 Mile LA Marathon Amidst One of the Worst Winter Storms in Recent Memory, March 20, 2011.


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 The Road Less Traveled

March 20, 2011

“This is getting bad,” I thought to myself as I passed a fallen comrade at Mile 15. Shaking violently, and sitting in six inches of water in the middle of street, he was being worked on by a team of medics, clearly in the throws of hypothermia as sheets of freezing rain pounded our collective resolve more than 4 hours into the race.

As Head Coach for the 2011 Students Off And Running (SOAR) marathon training program, my job today as ‘sweep’ for the LA Marathon seemed simple enough in theory: amidst the 30,000 registered participants, keep the team in front of me and moving toward the finish; tag and provide emotional support to whichever of our 17 registered student runners was having the toughest day (today, unfortunately was Mahsa’s day to have to dig deep); and get everybody safely (all 30 team members including coaches) to Santa Monica, a mere 26.2 miles from the start at Dodger Stadium. Piece of cake.

But at this particular moment, it was the ‘get everybody safely to Santa Monica’ clause of my job description that was giving me the hardest time as I was forced to accept the dire seriousness of our situation by a fresh torrent of icy smack down, “Man, I hope the kids are OK.  This is getting really, really bad.”

And then in my darkest hour, a glimmer of hope came in the form of a technological wonder. Two days earlier I had registered the entire team to track course progress via text alerts to my cell using the sensor system provided by the folks at LA. My phone now sparked to life as the first of 17 reached the beach ‘Ruiz, Gilbert at Finish – 4:06:27.’  I stopped and stared at my soggy Samsung in disbelief amidst the driving monsoon. “Yeah baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Go! G. Go!,” I howled to the heavens. “Bring it on! Come on Mahsa, let’s do this, you’re almost home!” We shared a smile and together continued our headlong plunge into teeth of the beast. 

For the next three hours, as the temperature plummeted and the worst winter storm in recent memory raged, Mahsa and I pressed on and the song remained the same; my emotions reeling as ol’ Samsung bore witness to each SOAR participant’s personal testament to courage and true determination:  ‘Mendez, Alex at Finish - 4:31:55’, ‘Gill, Jasmine at Finish – 5:11:07’, ‘Mendoza, Zachary at Finish – 5:37:24’ ‘Crooks, Keeva at Finish - 5:49:59’, ‘Flores, Nataly at Finish – 6:46:51’ and so the list went on as each made it safely to Santa Monica until finally, in the midst of a driving gale, there was only one text left to receive.  As we crossed the line together, I received my final text from LA XXVI, and took pause to give thanks for a safe end to an epic journey, surprised to find that despite all we endured throughout the day, I truly wouldn’t have changed a single thing.

If asked to share a grain of wisdom with all who triumphed over today's ordeal, it would simply be this: In the grand scheme of things, the road to integrity, personal growth, and self awareness is often the road less traveled. If you stick in there no matter what, the pain and sacrifice you endure along the way lasts but a moment, but the memories last a lifetime. 

<<<<<< begin transmission ……From LAXXVI  CB# 51497  4:37pm ……‘Motavvef, Mahsa at Finish – 7:26:51……..end transmission >>>>>>>>.  

My heartfelt congratulations to you Mahsa, my heartfelt congratulations to you all.

Yours for the long run,

Coach Sarkissian

2010 Students Off And Running (SOAR)


Santa Clarita Track Club's Students Off And Running (SOAR) helps youth at risk living in Santa Clarita build life skills and establish healthy relationships with peers and adults through training for and competing in a Marathon.


Santa Clarita Track Club's Students Off And Running (SOAR) aspires to be an after school program available to all schools throughout the Santa Clarita Valley that uses the vehicle of marathon training to empower students and provide them with tools for a healthy and constructive future.


The ultimate goal of SOAR is for students to participate in a truly life changing event: running a marathon. Beyond achieving a fitness challenge few can aspire to, students walk away from the program with a lifetime of lessons. In addition to increasing physical fitness and activity, students gain knowledge about health and nutrition, see alternatives to risky behavior, increase self-esteem, build resiliency to current and future obstacles, learn how to set and achieve goals, and develop positive peer and adult relationships. Students also gain the potential to translate their remarkable accomplishment into improved school performance and academic success. Seeing the fruits of their hard work upon crossing the finish line will provide SOAR students with the confidence they need to succeed both in and outside the classroom.


SOAR establishes running groups at participating schools and implements a seven month training program.  Each running group operates under the guidance of volunteer adult Coaches who role model commitment and perseverance by training mile for mile with student participants in preparation for the marathon.  Coaches may be teachers, school staff or community members and need not have prior running experience. Running groups maintain a 6:1 student-Coach ratio allowing for valuable one-on-one adult-student interaction. Weekly goals are set in a non-competitive environment that stresses endurance building as opposed to speed.  Starting with one mile the first week participants gradually run additional miles each week until they are prepared to take on the 26.2 mile course. During training, Coaches emphasize messages about nutrition, exercise, conditioning, injury prevention and general well-being.  Coaches also use this time to mentor students and create a supportive environment where students can talk about personal, family and academic challenges and develop the confidence to apply themselves and overcome those challenges.


SOAR Mardi Gras Madness 5K
Mini Madness 1K
Saturday, March 5, 2011

Results Posted Now!

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Training Progress

Week 1          Week 2        Week 3  
Week 4          Week 5        Week 6

Week 7          Week 8        Week 9 Week 10        Week 11      Week 12
Week 13       Week 14      Week 15
Week 16        Week 17      Week 18
Week 19        Week 20      Week 21
Week 22      
Week 23

   Final Team Stats 2010/2011

2010/2011 Team Roster
Team Roster 2010
Coaches / Race Promoters Only
Coach Contact Information
13.1 LA Registration

2010/11 Event Schedule

2010/2011 Master Event Schedule
Mardi Gras Madness 5K

2010/2011 Event Results

Race for the Rescues 5K, Oct 24th
Calabasas Classic 5K,  Nov 14th
Santa Monica Venice 10K, Dec 11th
SOAR Jingle Bell 10 Run, Dec 18th
13.1 LA Half Marathon, Jan 16th 
Surf City Half Marathon, Feb 6th
SOAR 20 Miler, Mar 6th

LA Marathon XXVI, March 20th
2010/11 Event Reminders
Surf City Event Reminder
Surf City Trip Slip
Surf City Start Line Directions
Surf City Start Shuttle Directions 
Training Calendars

October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011

February 2011
March 2011
Master Training Schedule 10/11

2011 Marathon Info

LA Marathon Trip Slip 2011
Info for Families and Participants  Marathon Tips for First Timers!
LA Marathon Team Itinerary!
MapQuest To Dodger Stadium
MapQuest to Finish Area
 Marathon XXVI Course Map

Projected Student Splits 2011
Event / Race Instructions
Student Tracking Race Day!

Post Season Events

D & D Mud Run, Sun April 25th
D & D Final Info Packet
D & D Permission Slip
Mud Run Tips!
Fight It! 5K, Sat May 15th
Fight It 5K Permission Slip
Team Dinner, Fri May 13th

Nutrition and Training

Performance 101
 Nutrition for Distance Running
PowerBar Product and Performance Datasheet

Press Releases

November 11, 2009
December 7, 2009
January 10, 2010
Mardi Gras Madness PSA

Waivers and Trip Slips

Parent Understanding
Participant Waiver
Team Physical
Team Tryouts Permission Slip


2007/2008 SOAR
2008/2009 SOAR

2009/2010 SOAR
2010/2011 SOAR
2011/2012 SOAR
2012/2013 SOAR
2013/2014 SOAR



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