September 15, 2008
Contact: Jamie Arehart
(267-350-7699 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Local students will be competing in the ING Philadelphia Distance Run on Sunday, September 21, 2008. The Half Marathon begins at 7:45 am and the Philadelphia Children's Run begins at 9:45 am. The race will start and finish at Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Parkway, across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Local Students from Students Run Philly Style Competing in
ING Philadelphia Distance Run

PHILADELPHIA - When 17-year old Anthony Alston told his aunt and guardian, Angela Chisholm, that he wanted to run alongside his Germantown High School classmates as part of the Students Run Philly Style program, she was skeptical. At 301 pounds, Anthony spent most of his free time playing Nintendo and watching TV. "I though it was just a phase," recalls Chisholm, "but he really did fool me-he stuck with it and I am really proud of him." Now, almost six months later and 29 pounds lighter, Anthony is set to run the ING Philadelphia Distance Run on September 21, a half-marathon of 13.1 miles spanning center city Philadelphia.

Hannah Gelman, Anthony's running leader at Germantown High School, started running with her students as part of the Students Run Philly Style program back in March 2008. The group at Germantown began with students who had never run before. "None of the kids could run a mile starting out," she recalls. As part of Students Run Philly Style, a program of the National Nursing Centers Consortium, an affiliate of the Public Health Management Corporation, students from all over the city are matched with adult mentors who help them train for a marathon and gain healthy habits, self-confidence and a successful mindset to achieve other key goals.

Since its inception four years ago, approximately 700 students have participated in the program. Gelman, a science teacher at the school and a runner since college, initiated the program at Germantown with Anthony as one of her first runners. "Anthony is definitely dedicated," says Gelman. "He's improving at running and he takes pride in his improvement."

It wasn't always easy. "I was real slow," recalls Anthony. "I was really out of shape and I definitely didn't think I was running material." According to Students Run Program Director Heather McDanel, who brought the program to Philadelphia four years ago, students like Anthony are exactly who the program seeks to serve. "It's not an athletic program-it's a mentoring and self-esteem building program," she says. "You see their confidence just gets so much stronger and their ability to be leaders among their peers."

Anthony's aunt saw those changes first-hand. "He gets up, knows he has to be somewhere at a certain time," she says. "You don't have to really tell him to responsible-he knows what to do." During the summer, Anthony ran three days a week with Gelman and the rest of his team, averaging 15-20 miles a week. Both Gelman and Chisholm hope his dedication will continue after high school. After graduating this year, Anthony hopes to go to college and someday have a career working with computer technology.

Right now, however, he's focused on completing the ING Philadelphia Distance Run along with 90 other students from Students Run Philly Style. "My goal is just to keep running," he says, "I want to run the whole thing, I don't want to stop."


About Students Run Philly Style
NNCC's Students Run Philly Style is the only program in Philadelphia that offers marathon training to help young people succeed in life by connecting students with adult mentors who help them imagine and accomplish goals beyond their dreams, including the completion of a marathon. For more information on Students Run Philly Style, please visit