In Da Club: The latest on Forever Young Adult Book Clubs. See More...
Smarty Pants: Submissions from the most clever people on the planet: our readers! See More...

The LA West FYA Book Club Is Going The Distance

How the ladies of LA West took YAngelism to the next level

The LA West FYA Book Club Is Going The Distance

We're always proud of our amazing community of FYA book clubs, and we love any opportunity to brag about their fabulousness. But today's story from Britt and the LA West club is a whole new world of awesome. Prepare to be inspired by these superstar YAngelists and find out how you can contribute to their efforts. (Then go find-- or launch!-- a YA book club in your area!)

The LA West chapter book club has had a banner year.

We’ve met at least once every month and we email each other on a near daily basis. We’ve gone on field trips to movies like Breaking Dawn, The Hunger Games, and Magic Mike. We’ve had book-swapping soirees with lots of cheap wine and frosted cookies. We’ve celebrated birthdays (and a recent engagement). We’ve waited in line for hours outside of bookstores to get authors to sign our books. We’ve disagreed over plotlines, argued over lust-worthy characters and discovered new favorite series through our countless discussions. And mostly we’ve had a lot of fun. But after all these things, we felt that, after a year of being together, we were finally ready to get physical. The next step in our book club relationship, clearly, was to start working out together. This was getting serious, y’all.

The Idea:

Things got a little heavy for us (relationship-wise) after our reading of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. You remember this book, the one that left you crying and absolutely emotionally devastated after reading it? Well, while discussing the manic-pixieness that is Augustus Waters, we discovered that one of our very own members was a cancer survivor (go Karen!). Besides that, we realized that we all had had an experience in our lives where someone that we knew of or loved had suffered from cancer. Cancer is just the WORST. Seriously. Why is cancer not preventable or treatable with a higher rate of success? This is the 2010s, people! We can make this happen!

Soon after this discussion, we heard about the Hirshberg LA Cancer Challenge 5k. The Hirshberg LA Cancer Challenge is a yearly race to raise money to research (and hopefully prevent or cure) pancreatic cancer. The 5k is team-based and it allows, even encourages, the participants to dress in costume for the race. Hearing about this race was like the universe was saying to us, “All right bishes, get your acts together. Let go of the book, put the champ can down, and move yourselves to be productive members of society.”

It didn’t take much encouraging for over half of us to sign up and commit to training and raising money for this 5k.

The Training:

Just so y’all know, we're not the most athletic of people. Only two of the ten of us that signed up had ever been in an organized race before. Personally, as someone who is about thirty pounds overweight and gets winded from going up a flight of stairs, I’m still a little surprised that I signed up at all. But we were determined to step out of our comfort zones for a good cause. Trust me when I tell you that we would have much rather been sitting around drinking and reading late on a Saturday night than to be waking up early at 6:30am on a Sunday to go for a group run. But we committed to do this thing, and so sacrifices were made.

We somehow managed to juggle our already busy schedules to fit in runs and cross-training sessions. Three point one miles may not sound like a big deal, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that for most of us, running is only something you do if you’re being chased by a madman (or maybe running after a taco truck, but certainly never that far). So more than the measurable miles, training for this was very much about creating healthy routines and getting over the intimidation of being in a race when you’re out of shape. I think that the only reason I stuck with this program is because I knew that there was a group of dedicated people that were in it to win it along with me. How lucky is that?!

The Race Day:

The race took place Sunday morning. We came as Dorothy Gale, Katniss Everdeen, Pippi Longstocking, Marcus Flutie, the Wicked Witch, a Hunger Games fan, Alexa Brooks (from a YA book that has yet to be published) and Charlotte the spider.

During the race we all went at separate speeds, varying from one member placing 2nd in the women’s overall category (Heather is a machine) to a couple of us who walk/jogged (or wogged) 3.1 miles in a little under 50 minutes. But we all completed the race. And we all had someone waiting for us at the finish line, cheering us on for the last leg.

By the end of the day we ended up not completely meeting our fundraising goal of $1,400, but we got pretty darn close collectively raising $1,273 (and still accepting donations if you’re interested in helping us meet our goal, albeit after the fact).

Running with these women has truly been a game changer and I hope that our story will maybe inspire other book clubs to band closer and try to make a difference. This event only made us stronger as a book club and as friends. We’re now in talks of doing a Christmas 10k, along with some training runs and nature hikes along the way. And I’m pretty confident that we’ll do this race too, if for no other reason than it’s another excuse to spend time talking books with some amazing women that are forever a little less Y and a bit more A.

Aren't these women amazing? Don't you want support them? You can! The District 14 team is still accepting donations here.