About Us


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.

The program focuses on helping Philadelphia students ages 12-18 realize their capacity for success through mentorship and distance running.  By engaging students with volunteer mentors, or “Running Leaders”, for upwards of ten hours a week, our program model encourages participants to create positive and lasting relationships with adults who are concerned about and invested in their well-being.  Since 2004, Students Run Philly Style has served more than 4,000 students from neighborhoods across Philadelphia.

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.


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!