JR: I was born with a broken neck, spine and feet. Over the years in middle school and high school, my mom was always very protective of me and told me that I couldn’t do certain sports or could only be active for a limited amount of time, to keep myself from getting hurt.
But, during my sophomore year of high school, I heard about Students Run LA through my friends, and I decided to go support my friends who were running the LA Marathon 2013. I saw such a wide range of people from 13-year-old kids to 80-year-olds running, and it inspired me to run. Even though I knew I was born with my disability, I thought to myself, “What’s preventing me from being out there with them?” I entered the program in the fall of 2013 and went from there.
FF: How did you find activity and express yourself as a child, before you started running?
JR: I was always a nerd. I was very academic. I’ve always been into robotics, MESA Math and Science competitions, things like that. I rarely ever expressed myself through sports. The closest I ever got was maybe US Army Cadets in high school. But overall I’ve always expressed myself through academics, mainly technology.