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We Run Denver: How you can help at-risk kids run the race of their lives

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Recently men and women from all over the states ran though rain and sleet to complete the Colfax marathon in Denver. Soon, we will be adding a new set of faces to that finish line!

Our story: Jenifer was all limbs and sick of her classmates teasing her about her height. She learned to use those limbs to her advantage though long-distance running. I found my inspiration in a bunch of teenagers running and cheering everyone on while I was struggling to finish my first marathon. Together, we are starting a non-profit in Denver that trains at-risk students to run marathons: We Run Denver!

We Run Denver mission statement: We Run Denver is a charitable organization dedicated to building self-esteem, teaching self-discipline, inspire goal setting and encouraging at-risk students to keep an open mind and heart to endless possibilities through training and the completion of the Colfax Marathon.

Did you know that .1 to .2 percent of the population will ever complete a marathon? An endurance race at 26.2 miles is a goal that not only takes some physical fitness it takes a strong and healthy mental outlook. A marathon takes perseverance, dedication and the self-esteem to know and trust you can take on such a challenging endeavor; all things we plan to give the students in We Run Denver.

By focusing on the marathon, we will be taking students off the streets and giving them a goal to work toward. We Run Denver is mirrored after a non-profit in Los Angeles, Students Run L.A., the exact students that motivated me during my first marathon. According to the Students Run L.A. website, 95% of the seniors that complete the marathon graduate high school and 90% plan to go to college. These are at-risk students having a life-changing experience through the training and completion of a marathon.

One in seven low income pre-school students are obese. If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe. Teenage female athletes are less than half as likely to get pregnant as a female non-athlete and they’re more likely to have a positive body image. Help us bring positive changes to Denver and our answer is as simple as running!

We Run Denver will be a teacher-led training program for at-risk students. The students will gradually build up their mileage though group runs and races ultimately leading to the Colfax Marathon. If they keep up with their training, help out others with volunteer work and keep up their grades, we hope to have new shoes for students racing the Colfax Marathon and scholarships for graduating seniors that completed the marathon.

Currently we have our articles of incorporations and we are raising money to file for our 501(c)3. Meet us at Japoix in Denver on June 16th at 5:30 for a dinner/drink fundraiser! There will be discounted food and drink, we just ask for a donation in return. If you would like to donate to our cause but can’t make it to Japoix, please send us an email Every dollar is hugely appreciated and thanks for being involved in our community because together, WE RUN DENVER!

Past city slicker and beach bum now mommy of two living in the middle of the mountains, guest blogger (and We Run Denver founder) Holly finds it hard to tame passion. She blogs at What Was I Saying Again.

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson June 7, 2011

    Fantastic cause, Holly. I’m so inspired by this program and I know you will make it (and these kids) fly.

  • comment avatar Holly Strebel June 7, 2011

    Thanks so much Amber! Jenifer and I have worked really hard on this and we need help!!!

    Since this post, Denver Public Schools said they want We Run Denver a pilot program in one of their schools THIS year! We are moving along but could really use donations!

    We have GREAT raffle prizes going for next week including A Basin ticket, a Rock ‘N’ Roll Denver entree, Matrix personal training and more!!! Come see us at Japoix on Thursday June 16th at 5:30!!!

  • comment avatar Holly Strebel June 7, 2011

    Also want to clarify that I’m the co-founder along with Jenifer! Not sure where this would be without her as well!

    Also a huge thanks for everyone’s support!!!

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