There’s a lot running through Nicole Boussy’s mind these days.
As a sixth grade teacher at Sippican School, a mother, and a wife, Boussy is always trying to stay ahead of the race when it comes to her tight schedule, her commitments, her goals – both professional and personal – that keep her sprinting each and every day.
But it’s Boussy’s most recent goal that has her students excitedly running alongside her.
Boussy, an avid runner, has just been informed of her acceptance as a competitor in the 122nd Boston Marathon next year on April 15 – and her students couldn’t be more eager to cheer her on.
“This is very exciting, very daunting, very challenging,” said Boussy. Not just for her, but for the staff and students at Sippican, she said. “They are very excited,” she said. “They are all on board.”
The countdown in Boussy’s sixth grade classroom has officially begun – 121 days to be exact – “But who’s counting?” says Boussy.
Each day, the students cut one paper chain link from the 121 paperlink-long chain the students made. Boussy has enlisted the help of her students and the Sippican staff as she tries to reach her fundraising goal of $7,500 for the 261 Fearless charity started by Kathrine Switzer, the first female to run the Boston Marathon back in 1967. Switzer’s bib number: 261.
Boussy met Switzer for the first time about a month ago, she said, which was when Boussy decided to support the global nonprofit that works with and helps educate women through the platform of running as a way to approach challenges with a different perspective, as Boussy described it.
Boussy says her students have observed her passion for running and have even expressed an interest in running themselves. “And it’s not just the young ladies,” said Boussy. “It’s all the sixth graders who are aware of my passion of running.” She said some students have even asked Boussy to give mini training sessions during recess.
Boussy is planning several “spirit days” at the school to spread the word about 261 Fearless and its mission, and will hold some fundraising events throughout the year.
“Because there’s a daunting task that comes with the bib number,” said Boussy, “[and] so that we can all come together and be fearless and cheer me on…”
As excited as Boussy is, there are daunting days ahead, she says. After all, she’s up at 5:00 am running most mornings before work.
“Honestly, I know it’s going to be the kids that get me up the hills in the end,” said Boussy. “Those” hills, she said, referring to those ‘heartbreakers’ of the marathon. “With support and love and community,” she said, “you can do it. You can get up those hills.”
Boussy is inspired by the students as much as they are in turn inspired by Boussy who is now in the midst of a figurative marathon of “shower, crash, eat, teach, and still be a mom,” said Boussy.
One sixth grader, Boussy said, actually saw her running one recent day after school and said to her the next day, “You run, teach, mom, homework…” suggesting perhaps the class should help out by cutting back on homework until the marathon is over.
“He’s honestly one of my biggest fans,” said Boussy. After every weekend, Boussy said, the student asks her, “Did you run?”
And that’s good for her, said Boussy. It keeps her accountable.
“That’s huge,” said Boussy. “I hope it’s something [the students] remember … and something that they are a part of.”
Boussy said she has two teams: her Home Team and the Sippican School Community Team.
“I’m so excited and proud to be involved with the Boston Marathon, 261 Fearless, and the Sippican School community,” said Boussy. “To be supported by my family, friends, co-workers, and students on such a huge goal inspires me during my training.”
So far, Boussy has raised $350 in 19 days towards her goal of $7,500. To pledge your support, visit her fundraising page https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/261fearlessboston2018/nicoleboussy.
By Jean Perry