Troy elementary school principal finishes Boston Marathon at her school

Principal turns marathon into teachable moment

TROY, Mich. (WXYZ) - Hamilton Elementary school principal Dr. Pamela Mathers set out to conquer the Boston Marathon.  Dr. Mathers tells 7 Action News that she was a half mile from the finish line when race officials created a wall of officers to block her and others.

She sensed runners slowing down. 

Looking down at her watch, toying with time and realizing she was making good time, she struggled with why all these runners before her slowed their pace. 

A wall of police and National Guard soldiers didn't let them finish. 

While Dr. Mathers may have been robbed of the chance to finish, she considers herself lucky to have been saved from the bombs that rocked the finish line.

"I always tell the students to set your goals, set your goals high and if you don't make them you can always adjust it," the principal said. 

She keeps a pair of tennis shoes tucked away under the coffee table in her office. A constant reminder that running is in her blood.

If you were to walk in her office right now you'll find posters adorning her walls. They are a welcome from her first graders. Her family away from family.

To celebrate Dr. Mathers, students lined a path inside the media center at Troy's Hamilton Elementary. They created a path through the media center, allowing her a place to go through. She high-fived, clapped and cheered her students on as they encouraged her to reach for their constructed finish line. 

Fourth grader Ryan Smalley was excited to be a part of Dr. Mathers marathon finish, "we're all really proud of her and we're happy she's OK," he says.

Fourth grader Nicolette Simmons also watched as Dr. Mathers ran by.

"I'm so proud of Dr. Mathers that she could do this and so happy that she's safe," she said talking about Mathers safe return back to school.  "I was pretty sad because I know she worked so hard for it and I know she wanted to finish so badly so I'm really happy she could finish here," the 4th grader said.

As for Dr. Mathers, this race and her experience will turn into a teachable moment, "I knew I could, I had been reaching for it.  Practiced.  Made sure I was ready for it and things happen and so you can be disappointed but you just, you know you get right back up and set a new goal and say I'm going to find a way to meet that goal."

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