Who We're Running With: Students Run Philly Style

Running in the Philadelphia area continues to grow and grow. From the races to beautiful trails and places to run to great groups, we consider ourselves very lucky to be surrounded by such a wonderful running community. Here's who we're running with this week! 

By: Chelby Elam

My name’s Chelby Elam and I’m currently a high school junior at Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber. I’ve been running with Students Run Philly Style since I was a freshman and since joining I have run two Broad Street Runs and two Half Marathons and countless 5K races. My dad was a runner before I became one, and when he would run in big races such as the Philadelphia Marathon or the Broad Street Runs, I would see kids running those same races wearing shirts with “Students Run Philly Style” emblazoned on them and I often wondered what that group was about.  I was always interested in joining because I always wanted to accomplish running the Broad Street Run like my father did and I thought it’d be easier to run with other people my own age rather than just my father. My elementary/middle school didn’t offer a Students Run team so I didn’t join until I went to high school.

I think other students should join Students Run because it really does change your life. I never thought that I would run 10 miles or a half marathon and joining Students Run actually helped me accomplish things I never thought were possible. The mentors care so much about every single child involved and I can’t thank them enough for all that they’ve done for me and the other students involved.

In 2004, Students Run Philly Style was a program that started out in community centers with about 50 students. It soon blossomed into a program with over 1,000 students in 57 different schools throughout Philadelphia. Students Run Philly Style is a program that mentors youth in Philadelphia through distance running. It is a family environment that helps students achieve goals they never thought they could through running. The good thing about Students Run is that it’s not competitive. Other running sports that kids may do in school, like cross country or track are competitive and serious, but students run is all about fun, focus and enjoyment.

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Running leaders volunteer to run with a specific team of students to train for the Broad Street Run 10-miler, which is one of the biggest races in the country.  Eventually students and mentors will push themselves to reach their goal of running the Philadelphia half or full marathon. Distance running is a discipline students will learn and that transfers into the classroom. 99.5% of our students are promoted to the next grade and 90% of our high school graduates have been accepted into a four year college. After graduating high school, if you still want to be involved with students run, you can become a junior running leader. A junior running leader is for students who aren’t old enough to be a running leader but still want to be involved with the program.


If you are not in a school that has a Students Run team, you can email us and we can pair you up with another school that has our program. To be a running leader, you have to be over the age of 21, lead 2-3 practices during the week and lead one on Saturday mornings, attend running leader workshops and a mandatory training in January. You can find out more information on studentsrunphilly.org or find us at @StudentsRunPhl on twitter and instagram and @StudentsRunPhilly on facebook.