It’s the ultimate race and where all runners strive to compete. Heather Reading, kindergarten teacher at Remington Elementary, has earned a spot to run the well-known Boston Marathon for a second time in April 2020.
“I do it because I can,” shared Reading. “My body allows me and mentally, I want to do this.”
The athlete started running half marathons in 2007. “I thought if I did that, I might as well try a full,” she remarked. Training for a marathon is a 16 to 20-week process for Reading, and many days that includes a 20-mile run. Dedication like that has allowed her to complete 13 full marathons. One of those was her first Boston Marathon in 2014.
Along with success, Reading’s athletic journey has included its share of disappointment. Last year, she ran a time in a qualifying race that should have earned her an invitation to compete in the Boston Marathon. However, many other runners earned top times too, so race organizers revised their qualifying requirements. The new cut off times meant Reading wouldn’t qualify to compete in Boston. “It was hard to know I beat the [original] time,” she shared, “but I wouldn’t get to race.” She used the disappointment as fuel for the fire and trained harder, which earned her a spot in the 2020 event.
The teacher believes her love for running provides lessons for students. “It’s about learning to keep going and not letting yourself quit,” she stated. Reading has coached young students in the “Girls on the Run” program at her school, which not only promotes the sport of running with girls, but also inspires teachable moments about positive self-image.
Reading teaches at Remington Elementary and has been part of District 49 for 24 years.