Nonprofit inspires runners


13.1 MILES: Up and Running Again trains members to finish a half marathon.

Alexia Medina never dreamed she would be able to finish a half marathon race.

Now Medina runs 13.1 miles without stopping.

“Running makes me feel like I am doing a good thing that is going to impact something positive in me. Finishing a half marathon ranks as one of my top accomplishments,” Medina said.

Through Up and Running Again, a nonprofit Christian organization founded in 2010, Medina trained and learned the ways of long distance running. The program aims to improve the lives of at-risk youth through training for and completing a half marathon.

“Every week is a new challenge because you bump up a mile to your routine,” Medina said.

Each participant is rewarded for their pledge by receiving a pair of running shoes and a program T-shirt from Up and Running Again President and Chief Running Officer Steve Tierney.

“We are proud of the runners and we know they are going to do some great things in life,” Tierney said.

Three days of the week, groups of about 15 runners train at the Santa Ana iverbed. Multiple groups gather for longer runs on Saturdays at beaches, parks and mountain trails around Orange County.

“Training is challenging because I’ve never done anything like it before,” Medina said

Before Medina joined the program she had never considered running. She attended the first meeting out of curiosity. She never expected she would become one of the members to finish.

Encouragement and support helped her accomplish her goal. Medina says that if she can run 13.1 miles nonstop, she can do anything.

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“I learned from the program that I can do anything I put my mind into, with God by my side and Him giving me strength,” Medina said.

SPRINT: At-risk youth are trained to complete a half marathon by a Christian nonprofit group.

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