Our Program

Our Mission:

Students Run Philly Style transforms students’ lives through running and mentorship. We pair volunteer Running Leaders with teams of students to inspire them to push themselves further than they ever imagined. Their goal: the completion of a full or a half marathon. The courage and effort required, the unfailing support of a caring mentor and the thrill of its ultimate achievement results in a student who knows anything is possible.

Students Run Philly Style is a unique program that uses a simple approach to fostering resilience in Philadelphia youth: a pair of sneakers and a caring adult.

Long-distance running is an exercise in endurance and paired with a supportive mentor who trains alongside them, students prove they can continue to push forward, regardless of how far away the finish line may seem. Endurance is habit forming, and as students learn to set and accomplish goals physically, these skills transfer to problem solving elsewhere. Much like the road to academic success, long-distance running is not a straight line; there are steps forward and setbacks that arise, and to keep moving forward, students must be patient, dedicated, and essentially, resilient. These learned behaviors teach students that success in a race does not depend on being the fastest, but simply to keep going. By applying these learned behaviors towards their education, students learn the value of showing up and are taught to troubleshoot challenges. SRPS students learn that the road to academic success is not always clear, but with persistence and determination they can create a road to achievement that is ultimately their own.

From March to November, students and mentors train together for major area races such as the Blue Cross Broad Street Run and the Philadelphia Marathon.  Our students and mentors gain so much more through this process than just increased cardiovascular fitness.  During the many training runs  that take place each year, the opportunities for in-depth conversations are abound.  Mentors learn about the trials and tribulations in young people’s lives and assist them with finding solutions and standing strong in the face of adversity.  Conversely, students  get advice on college and career planning as well as goal setting among other things while having the undivided attention of a caring adult. Our resilience-based program model focuses on developing the skills students need to be successful when challenges arise — both in and out of the classroom and well into their adult lives.

After having completed a major accomplishment such as finishing a marathon and forming a close relationship with a mentor, our students graduate high school prepared to turn challenges into opportunities for success.  It is this this model that has proven itself to be the most powerful way to transform the lives of young people.

SRPS serves youth in grades 6-12, from every Zip Code in Philadelphia, and primarily serves youth living in communities where the majority of families live at, or below, the Federal Poverty Level. SRPS serves male, female and non-binary youth, with approximately 50% identifying as female, and 50% identifying as male. In 2020, SRPS is serving more than 1500 students. Students identify as: African-American (26%), White (20%), Asian-American (22%), Native-American/Alaskan Native (1%) and More than one Race (31%). Youth identify their ethnicity as Hispanic (25%) and Non-Hispanic (75%).

Student runners and mentors in the Students Run Philly Style program make a commitment to:


Almost half of Philadelphia’s children are overweight or at high risk for becoming overweight. Students Run students addresses childhood obesity by getting students off the couch and into a healthy lifestyle. Program outcomes have consistently shown a decrease in student Body Mass Index (BMI) and an increase in cardiovascular fitness. We build life-long athletes by getting youth involved in running — a sport that anyone can do, anytime, anywhere!


In a city where almost 7,000 juvenile arrests were made in Philadelphia last year*, Students Run combats soaring youth violence by providing students with a safe after-school activity led by strong adult role-models in the form of our running leaders. 74% of our students have reported fewer incidences of threatening others.


After training for something as difficult as a marathon, getting an A in History doesn’t seem so impossible anymore! The self-esteem, goal-setting and discipline our youth learn through running translates into improved performance in the classroom. The program has a participant high school graduation rate of 90%. Now that’s something to be proud of!

Our Impact