Diamond Diggs is part of the Teens Run DC program at Cardozo High in Washington. The after-school mentoring program matches adult long-distance runners with economically disadvantaged teenagers at the school.

 

Diamond Diggs is part of the Teens Run DC program at Cardozo High in Washington. The after-school mentoring program matches adult long-distance runners with economically disadvantaged teenagers at the school.

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Program founder Benson Forman with Diamond and mentors Katie Sheedy, in foreground, Cheryl Kovalsky.

 

Program founder Benson Forman with Diamond and mentors Katie Sheedy, in foreground, Cheryl Kovalsky.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Diamond with Kovalsky and Forman.

 

Diamond with Kovalsky and Forman.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Diamond stretches with her mentor, Cheryl Kovalsky, before a run in Bethesda in February.

 

Diamond stretches with her mentor, Cheryl Kovalsky, before a run in Bethesda in February.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

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"Long-distance running incorporates the idea of accomplishing something you didn’t think you could have accomplished," says clinical psychologist Ebony Dennis Mundy.

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Diamond Diggs jokes around with her uncle Jamaal Diggs at home.

 

Diamond Diggs jokes around with her uncle Jamaal Diggs at home.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Diamond often stays with her grandmother Diane Diggs. At left is Diamond’s mother, Roxianne Diggs.

 

Diamond often stays with her grandmother Diane Diggs. At left is Diamond’s mother, Roxianne Diggs.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Diggs plays a video game at home.

 

Diggs plays a video game at home.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Diggs looks back at her friends while walking to school at Cardozo High.

 

Diggs looks back at her friends while walking to school at Cardozo High.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Teens Run DC founder Benson Forman wanted the students to run, but more than that, he wanted to make the students feel connected to a larger community. \

 

Teens Run DC founder Benson Forman wanted the students to run, but more than that, he wanted to make the students feel connected to a larger community. "Inner-city kids are so invisible," Forman says. "What's really bad is when you are invisible to yourself, you feel, 'I myself don't matter.' That is the real crime."

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

When I am running, I let my imagination go wild,\

 

When I am running, I let my imagination go wild," Diamond says. "I just think about stuff, about relationships. About art. Sometimes I paint stuff in my head. I think about stuff I want to do. Stuff I’ve done. People who get on my nerves.

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Diggs center, prepares to run a half-marathon during the National Marathon in March.

 

Diggs center, prepares to run a half-marathon during the National Marathon in March.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Diggs crosses the finish line with Cardozo mentors Cheryl Kobalsky and Heather Drake.

 

Diggs crosses the finish line with Cardozo mentors Cheryl Kobalsky and Heather Drake.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

I feel good mentally,\

 

I feel good mentally," Diamond says later, smiling faintly and wearing her finisher's medal. "Physically, my back hurts.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post