MIDLOTHIAN — Mt. Peak Elementary School students lined the sidewalk for one teacher’s surprise victory lap Thursday morning.

Elisabeth Pearson was invited to run in the New York City Marathon on Sunday. More than 50,000 runners from all over the globe will participate in the 26.2-mile course that ends in Central Park, according to official race website.

To celebrate, the entire school staff and student body surprised her with a rousing send off and even arranged for her husband, two children and parents to greet her with roses at the end of the lap around the school playground.

This will be her 12th marathon, she said, but the one she has dreamed about the most since she started running.

“I have tried for the last nine years and I finally got in,” Pearson said. “It’s like the ultimate runner’s dream to qualify for the New York Marathon.”

Runners must log a time fast enough to qualify for the New York Marathon at previous marathons each year to be entered into a lottery for spots in the race, she said. To qualify for the marathon, female runners under 39 must run a full marathon in less than three hours and 15 minutes. She will be running with a friend who also qualified and her husband Robert will accompany her on the trip, she said.

“Thank you so much. I’m shaking,” Pearson told the gathered crowd. “I feel so loved.”

The school staff is proud of what Elisabeth has been able to accomplish and wanted to send her off right, said principal Karen Childers.

“We have been very secretive,” said Lisa Mitchell, chair of the Sunshine Committee at Mt. Peak, a teacher organization that encourages teacher moral and team building.

The teachers arranged for all staff members to wear bibs like marathon runners do pronouncing they supported “Team Pearson” and arranged for Elisabeth to be in the gym supervising student arrival, so a marathon-themed snack bar could be set up and the students assembled outside, she said. The background for the snack bar in the office - complete with granola bars, bananas, water bottles and cupcakes - was a special challenge, Mitchell said.

“We put up the background yesterday so we covered it with a fake sign,” Mitchell said.

Robert said he even kept the morning routine the same and didn’t tell the couple’s children about the surprise, so they wouldn’t accidentally let it slip.

“She was so surprised when I picked her up from daycare,” he said, motioning toward the couple’s young daughter. “She had only been there five or 10 minutes.”

Elisabeth’s students are excited for her, she said, and she won’t forget them while she is in New York City.

“I have been showing them pictures of all the landmarks I’ll see,” she said. “Then I’m going to take pictures of me at the landmarks. I’m using this as a teaching opportunity.”

This story is developing, visit www.midlothianmirror.com on Monday to learn how the race went.

 

Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email bkurtz@waxahachietx.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.