Jesse had a few true friends but the one that stood out was Leslie, who truly understood who he was and liked his personality. While others, including his father, had an issue with Jesse’s artistic side, Leslie commended him for it. She got him a paint set and real pads for his art, a gesture that left him speechless. Although he had trained so hard and had become a better runner, he still lost to Leslie. He worked hard on his running so he could beat the other boys in school and make his father proud. If he had won the race he would have made more friends but these new friends would not have been genuine. This is because they would only be his friends because of the running and not for anything else.