Ana Forcelledo, of Affton, who is a physical education teacher at Rockwood South Middle School in Fenton, used a challenge to students in a program called "Read, Write, Run" as an impetus to increase her passion for running and it paid off. Next April, Forcelledo will compete in the 2013 Boston marathon, fulfilling one of her goals.
“I only started running five years ago," she said. "Everything went just right on my qualifying run, and now that I’ve done it, it has redefined what I believe I can do.”
To qualify for the classic Boston race, Forcelledo needed a qualifying time of three hours, 35 minutes, or 3:35. At the Fox Valley Marathon qualifier in St. Charles, Ill. She cut it close, finishing at 3:34:42.
“Chasing a Boston marathon qualifying time has been a real challenge,” she said.
Forcelledo is in her first year in the Rockwood School District, and also is an assistant coach of the Nerinx Hall softball team. An Ursuline Academy graduate, she excelled as a soccer goalkeeper and as a softball team catcher.
She has used her experiences as a player and her avocation as a runner to help motivate the students in her classes.
“I’m demonstrating the importance of fitness, nutrition and hydration," Forcelledo said. "Our class covers these topics and I can give the kids real examples of how important it is to properly fuel your body so you can perform how you want.”
She is clearly pumped about continuing to improve as a runner, and about next spring's trip to Boston.
I’m so excited about what’s next that when I hear other runners talking about Boston, I literally get goosebumps!” she said. “The other thing I love about running is how open and friendly the whole community is. It’s not about competing against one another. Everyone wants to help you get better."
In St. Louis recently, being a catcher has paid off. Former catcher Mike Matheny is a good example. Forcelledo doesn't have that goal on her list, but a strong Boston Marathon finish would be a nice goal to achieve on her continuing improvement as a top local runner.