Tagged: teacher

Keila Merino Runs Across America

This past Sunday, the New York Times ran a great article about Keila Merino, a fourth grade teacher who also runs ultramarathons. While she clocked great times in high school and ran her first marathon in college, Merino hit her stride (quite literally) when she started smashing longer distances. While she dropped out of her first 100 mile race at mile 8, she returned with a vengeance the following year and won the Great New York 100 in 21 hours. (The 2015 running of this race just happened last weekend.)

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Photo credit: Joseph Vigar. Image courtesy of Keila Merino

This summer, Merino’s gunning for a bigger challenge: she’s running across the United States. Starting July 2, she’ll clock miles from Los Angeles, California, back home to the Bronx, New York. But in addition to simply achieving this goal, she’s got records to break. In 1978, South African ultramarathoner Mavis Hutchinson set the trans-American running record with a time of 69 days, 2 hours and 40 minutes.

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Image courtesy of Keila Merino

In addition to her impressive goal, Merino’s also running for a worthy cause. As she logs miles, she’ll also raise money for Back on My Feet NYC, a non-profit organization that promotes self-sufficiency through running for the city’s homeless population. Anne Mahlum founded the organization in 2007, but it has since expanded from its flagship Philadelphia chapter to 11 cities across the United States. Merino wants to to establish a women’s shelter with the money she collects.

As she treks across the States, show Keila some love! Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to track her progress and send some inspiration. If you’re able, make a donation to Back on My Feet and help support her dream of bringing a new women’s shelter to NYC.

Schoolin’ Life: Kerry Warwick

Today’s Schoolin’ Life interview comes from D-Duff’s cousin, Kerry Warwick.
Kerry Warwick
Give us a quick bio: who are you, what are you into, and how do you spend your days?
My name is Kerry Warwick, formerly Callaghan. I am a primary school teacher, which I love. I live in a gorgeous part of the English countryside with my husband, Hugh, and my cat, Eddie. I love to swim, particularly outdoors, so I spend time looking for tempting lakes and I love the sea. I like old martial arts films and I love to sing.
When you were in your 20s…
What expectations did you have for yourself over the coming decade?
I don’t think I really had any expectations for myself when I was in my 20s. I spent my time trying out different things and working out what was going to be right for me by failing at some things and succeeding at others. I think you try to spend a lot of time in your 20s doing things that you think will make others happy, so your actions are more linked with other people’s expectations rather than your own. I did expect to have a good time, though!
In what ways did society shape your expectations of yourself?
As written above, I think a lot of the decisions you make in late teens and 20s are a reaction to what you think those around you want or would approve of. Your parents’, teachers’, boyfriends’, friends’, colleagues’ opinions all seem so important and you can try and second-guess them and do things the way you think will make them happy. This method often doesn’t work and I think as you get older you become more sure of what you want, your views and where you want to be. In the end, you realize that making decisions can only come from you. The people around you will either congratulate you and jump on board, or learn to deal with it.
Short answer: society can entirely shape your expectations and the path you take if you let the views of others shout louder than yours.
What was your first job like?
My first job was an office job which kept me inside all day. I had to sell advertising space in magazines I wasn’t interested in. I took the job because I didn’t know what I wanted to do; it was close to home and I had to pay the rent. I hated it!
What was your first apartment like?
When I left university, I moved in with my (now) husband. We had no money. We lived in a tiny flat above a very noisy pub with a great couple from the Czech Republic. We had a great time!
Did you experience any big life changes?
I moved to different parts of the country 3 times, which seemed pretty life-changing at the time. I went to South America for 3 months which was an awesome experience, although someday I’d like to go back and take my time a little more. I decided I wanted to be a teacher, quit work and went back to university. I got engaged. I got married. Standard things when you are growing up, but everything you do is life changing, I think.
In what ways did your friendships change?
I realized during my late 20s who I could depend upon if I really needed someone. I learnt to identify who was a good friend for a boozy night out, who was a good person to call if I needed a laugh, and who would be there no matter what. I became more confident in who my true friends are. I began to spend more time looking after my relationships and have some real friends for life.
What did you learn through your romantic relationships?
Never try and be something different for someone. Always be honest. Be with someone who makes you laugh, who makes you feel special, who loves you just the way you are. Love isn’t possessive or jealous. Happiness is key.
How did your relationships with your family change?
I went from desperately trying to please my parents to knowing that I’m doing a good job; I was doing my best, knowing that they would support me no matter what I did. Sometimes relationships with parents can feel like a battle of wills when you are younger. Often you just need time to party, travel, date unsuitable boys, etc., before you can get to the parent-pleasing stage. Now I have a great relationship with my folks. We are much more like equals. There is much more respect and less resistance from my side!
How do you feel society viewed you?
I thought everyone was judging me, everything I did seemed to matter: what I wore, what I said, what I did for a living.
In actual fact, I’m sure society in general thought, “There’s just another girl trying to find her place.”
How do you feel you changed emotionally?
Now that I’m older, I am much more resilient. I worry less about what others think. I realize that people sometimes say stupid things and don’t think about how it will affect others. I wear my heart on my sleeve less.
How did you change intellectually?
When you go to uni or school, you absorb so much information and never really know what to do with it. When you start work and living in the real world, all of the info changes into skills. I’m much more practically intelligent these days.
In what ways do you feel your identity changed?
I don’t feel like my identity changed, but I became aware of who I was and what I wanted to be.
How did your worldview change over the course of the decade?
I developed much a clearer, objective world view. In my early twenties, I was quite introspective and self-centered. It was harder to put yourself in someone else’s shoes because you weren’t comfortable in your own. Now I can empathise more, reason more and understand different viewpoints.
What was the most embarrassing moment?
I once tried to chat up a guy with marmite smeared up the side of my face.
What was your biggest disappointment and how did that affect you later?
I was disappointed that I applied to university courses thinking my school grades would be bad. When my grades came back, they were great. I should have not gone to university that year and applied for a more challenging course. Though I think I would probably still have ended up in the same career!
Who was your biggest influence and why?
Probably my sister. She has always worked hard, been successful and encouraged me. She has been the one constant friend, confidant and critic throughout my life.
Is there any one experience that you feel defined the decade? Or one historical moment that changed you?
I think my decade was defined by all of the tiny, funny, scary, embarrassing, heartbreaking moments. It’s hard to pick just one.
Do you have any regrets? Are there things you wish you’d done, hadn’t done, or done differently?
No regrets. Try and do everything you get the opportunity to do. (Within reason!)
Pass it on: who else do you know that would make a good interview candidate?
Hannah Shackley.