Steven Loy started in the last wave of the inaugural San Fernando Valley Mile, on Saturday, October 29, 2022. It was both an exciting and stressful day for Loy, a kinesiology professor at California State University in Northridge. He was not only the race organizer, but also a runner himself.
Loy had created this one-mile race to give the participants of his community-based, student-led fitness program, 3WINS Fitness an opportunity to test their limits. 3WINS Fitness is a nationally recognized, free exercise program dedicated to empowering individuals to improve their quality of life by building healthier minds, bodies, and communities.
Once the gun went off for his wave of runners, Loy thought he was going to take his mind off being a race organizer and focus on running… until he caught up with a struggling walker from a previous wave.
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Loy recognized this walker, as she had been a regular participant in 3WINS Fitness since 2022. Despite having suffered a brain aneurysm in 2014, which left her with limited use of her left arm and leg, this walker visited 3WINS three times a week, participating in the program’s one-hour class. This meant taking two buses from North Hollywood to San Fernando Valley.
Seeing her struggle during the race, Loy suggested that she go back to her wheelchair, and he started pushing her to the finish line. The pair then walked the last block together crossing the one-mile mark together, with 3WINS student instructors as the sweepers.
Loy was elated and proud of how inclusive this race had been. It attracted elite 3WINS runners and walkers from the community. The race also coincided with the City of San Fernando’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)