Every day in Battle Ground Public Schools, teachers and counselors amaze and inspire. Sometimes it’s simply their ability to connect with kids, or to teach complicated subjects in ways that make it easier for students to comprehend and retain the information. Other times, the inspiration is more of the jaw-dropping variety, like when you have a teacher and a counselor who’ve successfully completed the world-renowned Boston Marathon together.
Captain Strong Primary physical education teacher Sandee Myers and Chief Umtuch Middle School counselor Krista Roadifer accomplished the impressive feat on April 15 at the 123rd Annual Boston Marathon. The race takes place every Patriot’s Day and attracts half a million spectators, making it New England’s most widely-viewed sporting event. Having started in 1897 after the successful debut of the marathon at the first modern Olympics in 1896, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon. Though it started with only 15 participants at the inaugural race, the event now attracts an average of about 30,000 registered participants each year.
This marks Myers’ fifth consecutive year of running the Boston Marathon, and the fourteenth marathon that she has completed. The 68-year-old shows no signs of slowing down, as her time of 4 hours, 27 minutes and 10 seconds was good for 37th place in her division, and fast enough to automatically qualify her for next year’s race.
It’s no surprise that Myers’ students are impressed by their teacher’s running prowess. When it’s time for Captain Strong’s third and fourth-grade students to run the mile in Physical Education class, Myers gets a kick out of seeing their eyes widen after telling the kids just how many laps around the gym it would take to equal the 26.2 miles she runs on a semi-regular basis.
“I want my students to understand that health and fitness doesn’t have to be a chore,” Myers said. “They just need to find something active they love to do, and that can contribute to a lifetime of fitness. Even though I’m the same age as their grandparents, I’m happy I can still be a role model for these kids through my running.”
For school counselor Krista Roadifer, being physically fit and active provides an opportunity to talk to students about holistic strategies that promote mental and emotional health. A lot of the kids Roadifer counsels struggle with anxiety, and healthy lifestyle habits like eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep can be beneficial for coping with issues related to stress and depression.
“Sometimes when kids are struggling, I’ll have them write down how they’re feeling both before and after we go on a 10-minute walk,” Roadifer said. “This helps them make the connection that physical activity can help boost their moods and make them feel better and more confident in general.”
Myers and Roadifer plan to continue running together and sharing their passion for fitness with their students.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s graduating from school with good grades or finishing a marathon, accomplishing a goal takes time and patience,” Myers said.
“And a lot of endurance,” Roadifer added.
Lessons they hope they can instill in their students.