Lone Star Running Project (LSR) is a mentoring program for all youth of the community between 13 and 18 years of age. This program uses long distance running as a vehicle for change and confidence building.
The premise of LSR is quite simple. Youth between 13 and 18 years of age train with adult mentors, three times per week to run a half-marathon after 13 weeks of training. The program serves as an after school program twice a week in collective running groups. The entire group runs together on Saturday mornings as well. During the season youth and mentors log approximately 175 miles together in training for the half-marathon. The program is modeled off of Run The Streets in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. To date, over 550 youth have completed a half-marathon with Run the Streets. Completion rates for youth continue to grow with the number of participants. Seasons Ten and Eleven, of the Bartlesville program, both saw 85 percent of the youth who began the program, cross the finish line of the half-marathon.
While LSR is billed as a mentoring program it is essentially a modeling program. Adult mentors are expected to run side by side with youth during the 150 to 175 miles of training. Mentors model consistent, dependable behavior in a healthy and supportive environment. The goal of LSR is completion rather than competition so finishing is prized more than winning in this program. Delinquent youth participate in the program as an alternative to traditional probation. Run the Streets has proven consistently over the years that recidivism rates for delinquent youth who participate in the program are well below rates for youth on traditional probation.
LSR provides youth everything they need to participate in the program at no cost to the youth or to the mentors. Youth are provided running shoes, running clothes, race entry fees, and transportation to races, food, water, parties and rewards for finishing the program. The expense to the program for each youth participant is approximately $400 per season. LSR pays the race fees of mentors but they pay for their own running gear.