Next April, Bridgnorth Endowed School art teacher, Mrs Louise Rhodes will be running 26.2 gruelling miles in the 39th London Marathon.
Describing herself as ‘not a typically sporty person’, Mrs Rhodes caught the running bug several years ago when her sister persuaded her to join the Bridgnorth Running Club.
Having a family meant she needed to put her love of running on the back-burner until last year, when she took part in a campaign to run every day throughout January.
Mrs Rhodes surprised herself and got up to a 10-mile run fairly quickly and, by the end of the month, she’d completed a half marathon distance.
Determined to push herself, she signed up for some local 10K runs and did extremely well.
Mrs Rhodes comments: “It’s definitely a case of mind over matter for me and I see every run as an achievement.”
With success under her belt, Mrs Rhodes’ sister encouraged her to join her in signing up for the London Marathon and, as getting a place is notoriously difficult, she tentatively agreed to go along with it.
In the meantime, she took part in the Shrewsbury Half Marathon, and found it particularly difficult due to the hilly terrain.
With thoughts of ‘don’t let it be me’ on her mind, Mrs Rhodes anxiously waited for her London Marathon rejection letter but nothing appeared. One day, when checking the event website for her status, she was shocked to see a bib number come up.
Already in training for the event, and hoping for a time of between 5 and 5½ hours, she fits in 2-3 runs a week around family and work.
Mrs Rhodes has been an art teacher at Bridgnorth Endowed for four years, which brought her full circle after having been a pupil at the school just over 20 years ago.
When in the sixth form, she was selected to take part in an arts exchange to the Punjab in India, where she developed her passion for art, as well as travel.
After her A Levels, during a gap year in Zambia, Mrs Rhodes taught in an international school, and knew then that she wanted to teach.
As a member of the art department, she gets to be involved in a whole variety of exciting projects, such as the Bridgnorth Statue Trail, earlier this year, and a proposed mural on the wall at the St Leonard’s School swimming pool that’s coming up soon.
In the new year, however, her marathon training programme will start in earnest and, to test her progress, she’ll also be taking part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon in March.
Mrs Rhodes concludes: “This is something I would never have thought possible and it will be my biggest personal challenge to date. The message I’d like to pass on to students is how important it is to push yourself and try your very best to achieve your full potential.”
We wish Mrs Rhodes lots of luck and details of her progress and fundraising will follow.