YORK -- The much-heralded Boston Marathon, scheduled for April 21 in Bean Town, is the Super Bowl of long-distance races across the nation.
Among the 30,000 or so participants will be third-year York Junior High physical education teacher Nicole Prell, who began training for the big event in January.
"I tell my P. E. students that fitness is important," Prell said of the profession she enjoys. "I want them to know that I do it, too."
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Prell qualified for the Boston Marathon by competing successfully in the 2006 Philadelphia Marathon.
She's also competed in the Chicago and Richmond marathons.
Prell will not be alone when she endures the streets of Boston this month.
She will be accompanied by her mom, Sandi Ludwa, who happens to be competing in her 14th marathon race.
"I began running in marathons with my mom when I reached college age," Prell said of her mother's influence.
Curtis Godwin, who, along with fellow York Comprehensive High School coach Joey Moore competed in the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February, has an appreciation for Prell's willingness to pay the price.
"The preparation was more rigorous than the race," Godwin said of the Myrtle Beach event that included 4,000 participants.
Prell knows a thing or two about preparation as the Boston Marathon draws near.
She began running 12 miles on weekends and has extended practice runs to 21 miles.
"The Boston Marathon is the largest marathon in the U. S.," noted Prell. "That's why I'm running in the event and pushing myself to compete."
Godwin recognizes the national stature the Boston race has earned.
"Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a great accomplishment," Godwin said of Prell's participation in the big event. "The pace you have to set to qualify says a lot about coach Prell's commitment."
YCHS athletic director Steve Boyd lauded the efforts of Prell, Godwin and Moore.
"I am glad we have coaches that still compete and set an example for today's young people," Boyd said. "So many kids are obese. They need physical fitness and they need role models."
Prell is driven by self-motivation and pride as she readies for the Boston Marathon. Striding alongside the elite marathon runners in the country means something to her.
"I know that when I cross the finish line in Boston I will have accomplished something 99 percent of the people in the US haven't done," she said.