By Samantha Johnson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Susan Reimer, a teacher at Burdett School, ran 12 marathons before she managed to obtain a qualifying time to enter the Boston Marathon.
In Boston, she managed her best time yet of 3 hours and 41 minutes, which put her in 300th place out of about 1,300 women in her age group.
“I was happy with that. The kids at school keep asking me where I placed and I said about 15,000th overall (out of 30,000 runners total), but that didn’t really matter,” said Reimer. “People joke and say you are going to win. I already won because I got to go and I finished it. Just to be there was the prize.”
Principal Cheryl Rebmann wasn’t at the school but was following Reimer’s progress in Boston from a conference she was attending in Banff and was able to celebrate when Reimer crossed the finish line.
“I had the tracking app on my phone and was sharing it with our colleagues who were in Banff and watching Susan as she was going along the route and as she crossed the finish line.”
Amber Pinchin, vice-principal, was at the school and they managed to find a Boston TV station broadcasting the marathon live. Pinchin teaches Grade 3 and had the marathon up on the SMART board, which had to be muted and minimized so some learning could get done.
Pinchin explained, “We didn’t go more than 20 minutes before someone was asking how far is she now? Where is she now? Is she done yet? My favourite was at lunchtime the kids were saying, ‘she’s still running.’ There was a buzz in the school. The class next door, we could hear them cheering. They couldn’t find Mrs. Reimer in the video feed so they just picked somebody and they all were all running on the spot pretending they were running with her. Every class did something a bit different, but we all watching and all cheering and everybody was thinking about her.”
The entire school surprised Reimer by having all the students and teachers line the hallway the day she returned. When Reimer exited the office, everyone started cheering and she did a victory run down the hallway.
“The kids were all excited and we had a finish line,” said Pinchin. “I think something like that helps make it more real for kids, just to see her run by with the medal.”
Reimer has re-qualified to return to Boston next year and is thinking she probably will. Her next big running goal is a 100 km ultra race in September.
The experience has sparked something in the students at the school and a run club is starting up in the next couple of weeks. Additionally, the school is taking the kids to the Elm Street School River Flats Run at the end of May.
“Susan really inspires us to look into that well-being,” added Rebmann. “She’s not only inspired students, but she’s inspired some staff, too.”