Kipps teacher participates in Boston Marathon


Marty Gordon

Kim Kitts of Blacksburg crossed last Monday’s Boston Marathon in the 15,299 position out of 32,000 racers. This is her first time participating in the event.

Kim Kitts walked into her Kipps Elementary classroom on Tuesday with a medal around her neck. The kindergarteners were excited and thought their teacher had won a big race. It was a big race, but she hadn’t really won. Instead, she had just scratched something off her bucket list by completing the Boston Marathon.

“Running the Boston Marathon was a dream of mine, and it was an experience I will never forget.  The whole city is so excited to have runners there for the marathon on Patriot’s Day. The people of Boston are so friendly and supportive of all the runners and visitors. This was my first time visiting Boston and I hope to return soon,” she said.

In her mind, she had won by just completely the 26.2-mile race on Monday by finishing 15,299 out of an estimated 32,000 runners with a 3:58:49 time.

“The Boston Marathon is like the super bowl of the running world. It is the world’s oldest and best known road race. To run the Boston Marathon was a dream I hoped to one day fulfill. I guess you could say Boston was a bucket list item for me. I have traveled to some neat places to run and Boston seems to be on everyone’s short list. However, it can be hard to qualify for Boston, she said.

Her qualifying time had to be near 3:45, and she did that in the March 2016 Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon.

Geoffrey Kirui won last week’s 121st Boston Marathon by pulling away from three-time U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp. Kirui won the silver trophy and $150,000 prize after a time of two hours, nine minutes and 37 seconds. Edna Kiplagt won the women’s race at a 2:21:52 clip.

An estimated 500,000 spectators packed the streets along the marathon route.

This is Kitts’ 20th year teaching kindergarten, and when she wore her medal and Boston Marathon jacket into work, the kids were excited about the unicorn medal and thought she won the race.

“I had to explain that you get a medal for finishing the race. They had a lot of questions about how long the race was and how long it took me to run.”

Of course, there was the memory of the 2013 Boston Marathon in the back of Kitts’ mind.

“I remember being at work and hearing about the marathon bombings.  I was like most individuals and was shocked that such an attack had occurred. I remember hearing the stories on the news of local runners who were there and hearing their stories,” she said.

On Monday, April 15, 2013, multiple bombs exploded during the marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured, with one explosion being near the race’s finish line.

The bombing was the worst act of terrorism to take place in the U.S. since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York.

On Saturday, there were many Boston Strong signs and events to recognize and remember the events of 2013. The city had placed daffodils all around the finish line area, and there was a moment of silence planned for 2:49 on April 15 at the race expo.

Many runners for the 5K on Saturday and for the marathon on Monday had shirts with Martin Richard and the number 8 on them. Richard was the eight year old that was killed during the attack.

“It was difficult not to think about the bombings of 2013 as you were running down Boylson Street to the finish line. However it was an inspiration to see so many people cheering, remembering and celebrating the 121st running of such an amazing event,” Kitts said.

There was a lot of security measures in place at the starting area, along the course and at the finish line.

“The event is very well organized and the Boston Athletic Association does a wonderful job communicating all the procedures and details of the race to runners and spectators,” she said.

Kitts would love to run the marathon again next year or later down the road.

Running always makes her feel better and is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  She started running in 2009 and now has run numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, 10-milers and over 50 half marathons, seven marathons and two 50Ks since that first 5K almost eight years ago.

“I always prefer to run outside if at all possible. It has helped me reach many personal goals and relieve any stress from my day. I enjoy running with my friends and traveling to races with them.  I also love meeting new people out on the trails and try and go to the local pub runs on Wednesday afternoons at Runabout Sports in Blacksburg,” she concluded.

For the present time, she is a celebrity in her own classroom and school. Her husband, Brian, is the principal at Blacksburg High School.

Two other local runners, Trish Richardson and Trevor Stewart, also participated in this year’s Boston Marathon.