Skip to content
SA Together Again: We’re back in classrooms and taking learning to new levels!

Mission Possible

Stories and insights on excellent education.

Teacher’s Journal: Running the NYC Marathon

When the invitation to run the marathon with my Success Academy colleagues popped up in my inbox last spring I was skeptical. To say I was an inexperienced runner is understatement at best. Until then I had jogged no more than four miles. Most of those miles I had logged in high school to fulfill a gym requirement. So completing a 26.2-mile race seemed like an insane, if not unattainable, goal.

In the end, though, I threw caution and all common sense to the wind – literally – and accepted the challenge. In less than six months I would run 26.2 miles and, hopefully, survive to teach the next day.

Training for a marathon, it turns out, is not much different from your first six months of teaching – an experience I like to compare to drinking out of a fire hose. The sheer volume of demands and the speed at which you must respond to them can feel overwhelming. It is especially daunting to train for a marathon and start the new school year. More than once I took a long look at myself, shook my head and questioned the wisdom of my decision.

Somewhere along the way, however, something changed. When I went for short runs, I explored the streets and neighborhoods of Brooklyn. On the weekends, I ran across the bridge to Manhattan and weaved through to the grid. The runs no longer felt like a burden but rather a retreat from the demands of the week.

On marathon day, I woke up excited and ready to run the 26.2 miles. I fastened my knee straps, threw on an extra layer of clothes and boarded the packed Staten Island Ferry for the starting line. Energized by the crowd, I blasted off and pushed through the wind.

Both my boyfriend, who ran alongside me, and I kept up a good pace until mile 15. At mile 15, while crossing the Ed Koch Bridge, the combination of wind and exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks. My pace slowed to a crawl and thoughts of giving up came creeping into my head. It was at this point that I glanced across the water to Manhattan; the finish line was near.

Just keep going, I said. I ignored the cold wind and my aching legs and kept pushing. I was reminded that every day I ask my scholars to push themselves past what they think is possible. I assure them that grit will help them achieve their wildest ambitions.

I was reminded that every day I ask my scholars to push themselves past what they think is possible. I assure them that grit will help them achieve their wildest ambitions.

As I crossed the finish line on Sunday, I felt the thrill of accomplishing my own wild ambition.

And I survived to teach the next day.


Written by Margaret Jones November 5, 2014


Related posts

“Happy Children Learn Better” – An SA parent reflects on the return to campus

October 7, 2021 Success Academy

Success Academy reopened its doors to scholars across the city in August, safely ushering students back into the classroom after an unprecedented 2020-21 school year. To keep our scholars safe — and learning — it’s more important than ever that we work together with families and guardians to ensure everyone in our community is on... Read more

Back to Basics: 3 Ways Parents Can Help Scholars Adjust to In-Person Learning

October 4, 2021 Success Academy

The school year is well underway, and it is so exciting to be together again in our classrooms. We love seeing scholars connect face-to-face and participate in hands-on science labs, team sports, and theatre productions alike. Nevertheless, we know returning to a new or unfamiliar learning space can be a challenging transition, and scholars might... Read more

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

September 29, 2021 Success Academy

The deadly pandemic that forced children to isolate and learn remotely has only deepened painful issues of inequity. All around us, there is profound learning loss and lack of access to equitable resources. At Success Academy, we have a special obligation to get back on track and ensure that our students realize their full potential,... Read more

Enroll your child

We’re now accepting K-4 applications for the 2021-2022 school year.

Work with us

Build your career while making an impact at Success Academy.