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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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.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

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

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

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Diamond with Kovalsky and Forman.

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Diamond with Kovalsky and Forman.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

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

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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.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. \

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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,\

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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.

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

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

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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.

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

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

I feel good mentally,\

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

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post