Project Twenty:Six is a women’s marathon training program that will be working with female LMU students to train them to run their first marathon.
The project is sponsored by Adidas Runners L.A., an organization of over 1,000 who run and train in the city of Los Angeles. Project Twenty:Six will involve 13 female LMU students, as well as 13 members of the Adidas Runners community, according to Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement Ryan Yamashita ('13). The selected students for this project will receive professional training for the upcoming L.A. Marathon on March 8, 2020.
Alexandra Christophilis, a freshman communication studies major from Seattle, is the LMU project captain. Twenty:Six will be “an empowering way to just join together and create healthy relationships with different females,” Christophilis said.
Christophilis emphasized the project’s focus on female empowerment and its dedication to bringing women together to overcome challenges. Project Twenty:Six will unite women of all ages and backgrounds with a common goal of forming a resilient community through running.
“We will be running the marathon on March 8, the same day as International Women’s Day, which is super cool since it’s an all-female project and all female staff,” she noted.
While this feat will not be easy, Christophilis is confident in the LMU community. She believes it will be a good opportunity for students, especially freshmen, to get more involved on campus and create meaningful connections with other women.
“It’s going to bring a lot of challenge[s] but, at the same time I think it’ll be an opportunity for perseverance,” said Christophilis.
Christophilis is not alone, as she will be working with the Adidas Runners in leading these 13 women runners during this project. Sofia Perry, an Adidas Community Runner, is excited for Christophilis to lead a group of women runners in the LMU community.
“She’s super enthusiastic and I think it’s great. I think it’ll also be really helpful to have a student communicator to act as a go-between between us and the LMU participants,” said Perry. “I think that’ll be really helpful, just in terms of having someone to be that key point of contact."
Perry is the project lead for Twenty:Six, as well as an Adidas Runners project manager. She is one of the Adidas Runners community members who will be facilitating the 13 selected female LMU students. Perry described the excitement that the Adidas Runners Club has for this project and working with select LMU students.
“I think that the marathon is a great goal post ... just helping these women throughout the 16 weeks is our goal, to see the development and progress they make all throughout,” said Perry. “I think it’s a super exciting project, and all our female captains and coaches here are really excited about it too.”
LMU connected with this program through Yamashita. Yamashita is an active member of the Adidas Runners L.A. running community. He sees the Adidas Runners not only as an organization that benefits LMU students interested in running a marathon, but also as a beneficial opportunity for the community.
“I think the hardest [part] of running a marathon is finding that community that can get you to the starting line, but also past the wall and to the finish line,” said Yamashita. “I think that’s rare, being able to have that team that you can train up and do all of those long runs with ... You’re gonna have that through Adidas Runners.”
Yamashita mentioned that those who are interested in applying for this program should not worry about their ability as a runner, as this is about the experience and determination of achieving this goal alongside other LMU women.
“Speed doesn’t have anything to do with this. It’s just the drive, ambition and goals to try to do their first marathon,” said Yamashita. “If you’re born here, this race is going to be special, because you’re getting to run in a city you grew up in and run from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica, all across L.A.”
LMU students who wish to participate must fill out an online form. The deadline to submit the form is Oct. 24, and those interested can access the form on the Loyolan website.