Nikki Piland, a teacher at Riverview Elementary School in Munroe Falls, had looked forward to seeing out the end of the school year with her own students in her classroom. She also had been looking forward to the Hall of Fame Marathon and events, which had been scheduled for April 30 through May 2.
Both hopes were dashed by the pandemic. School buildings throughout the state, ordered closed starting March 16, were recently closed for the remainder of the school year, and the marathon and its associated events were canceled April 8.
So, with the marathon canceled and the school buildings shuttered, Piland decided to run her own marathon through the neighborhoods of her students. As a result, Saturday morning, starting at 8 a.m., Piland will run nearly 27 miles through the neighborhoods of Stow and Munroe Falls.
"While she was sad about the marathon, she was equally as sad that she wouldn’t be able to see her students the rest of the school year," said Laura Forchione, technology integration director. "So she formulated a plan to fix both issues. She will be running a marathon past each of her student’s homes. Her students plan to wave to her to the finish line throughout her route."
Piland said she has run more than 20 marathons, including the Hall of Fame Marathon since it started in 2013, and celebrated her 10th year anniversary running the Akron Marathon this past September.
"Once I heard the news about the Hall of Fame marathon being canceled, I needed to decide whether to continue with my training plan," Piland said. "It takes a lot of discipline and is different from running just for fun. I also thought about how much I missed my students."
Plotting her personal marathon took several hours, Piland said, and she will be able to pass by the homes of most of her students.
"I miss my kids a lot, and this is one way I can see them, from two meters away," she said.
Piland said she has never placed in a race. "I’m not an elite athlete. Finishing is an accomplishment in and of itself."
Piland’s route can be found online at https://www.strava.com/routes/25953611.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC