A calm afternoon breeze cools the runners’ faces as they warm up for their workout at Shepard’s Stadium. Lunging across the field followed by high knees in the opposite direction is is only part of their routine.
Through vigorous exercise they train both body and mind.
The Brahma Runners club was founded by club president Sergio Barboza, 20, and its vice president Jose Pacheco, 19, in hopes to bring people together who may be interested in joining a cross country team.
“We were told that a cross country team was likely to start here, and so he said we should start running with other people,” Barboza said. “A good way to get them interested in running is to start a club.”
The club was the brainchild of both Barboza and Pacheco, who noticed a lack of awareness for the sport on campus.
Pacheco confides that one purpose for forming the group was to be a voice for the students.
“One of our main goals is to form a cross country team. Currently we don’t even have a track team,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco and Barboza went to Susan Armenta, professor of kinesiology, to see what would be the best way to recruit students for a cross country team if there were to be one.
“They wanted to be a club that got our students training together,” Armenta said. “Ultimately they want to start a cross country team. So we want to get students interested, in shape and actively moving.”
Armenta has a background in running which can benefit the members of the club.
“I was a competitive race walker for about 20 years, but I’ve done marathons. I’m actually in a running club now,” Armenta said.
The club meets three days a week to ensure that the members of the club can all meet at least once in case they have other things going on.
“On Wednesdays we have our meetings, and follow it up with a workout at the track,” Armenta said. “On Friday mornings we have a group run around campus varying between 1 and 4 miles. On Saturdays we do off campus so that we can do a longer run.”
The initial goal of the club was to get people interested in running. As the club developed they included other factors that would help the club grow.
“Along the way we decided to make it to where we could fundraise and do running events like 5k and 10k runs just to kind of get more people to join and to get them more active,” Barboza said.
Elvira Sanchez, 19, is the club treasurer and handles how all the money comes and goes.
“Once we do fundraising, I submit the applications to the office,” Sanchez said. “I keep track of our financial status and once we receive money I help decide what we will spend it on.”
Sanchez is not only a club officer, but also a runner herself.
“I’m a distance runner,” Sanchez said. “I ran track and cross country all four years in high school.”
Joel Guzman is one of the members of the club, and wanted to be able to run again in college.
“When I was in high school, I ran cross country, and I wanted to start running again. This is my way to do that,” Guzman said.
Barboza was recruited by West Los Angeles College right out of high school. He ran one year for them although he was enrolled at Pierce.
“I ran all four years in high school and I did one year of cross country for West LA,” Barboza said. “All I needed was to register for their class and attend their practice.”
Although each member of the club has a different level of experience, they are all treated with the same respect.
“We want people to be able to perform a healthy lifestyle,” Pacheco said. “Even if one team member is the slowest on the team, we need to have a great heart and motivate them.”
Sanchez wants to help others see the benefits of running, and the enjoyment on their faces.
“I really enjoy running and I like that we can inspire other people to run even though sometimes they don’t want to run,” Sanchez said. “Just seeing how people progress, I really like it.”
Workouts and runs is how the club readies its runners for upcoming events.
“We do some core work like boot camp type drills or running and agility drills to make sure we are efficient in our core,” Armenta said.
The club is currently working to build a base for events.
“They are one of the most fun things to do in running,” Pacheco said.
LAUSD 5k run/walk on April 23 is their next running event and everyone is training and working out in preparation for the run.
“We are really hoping to do that one, it’s going to be a fun run,” Barboza said. “If you have brothers or sisters they can join because its free to all LAUSD students.”