LIVINGSTON, NJ — An educator who also happens to be an accomplished distance runner, Mt. Pleasant Middle School Principal Bronawyn O'Leary, recently added another medal to her display case. O'Leary won the Seaside Park Half Marathon in Ocean County on Oct. 20 with a time of 1:31:30, which is less than seven minutes per mile.
O'Leary previously won the NJ Half Marathon in 2012 and the 2011 New Jersey Marathon, and she placed among the top 75 women in the New York City Marathon several years ago.
"I have been an avid runner for most of life," said O'Leary. "My running days started back at Keansburg High School and then I was blessed to run at Rowan University...I have won a few other local races and take pride in all of them."
The Seaside Park Half Marathon is run on a flat course that takes participants along the Seaside boardwalk and into Island Beach State Park.
O'Leary trains with the Diamonds, a small running group based in the Point Pleasant area. She said that during her training period she focused on middle distance runs and working out on the track.
"The 5K summer season also helped give me some great workouts to prepare for this race," she said.
O'Leary's running schedule routinely includes one marathon per year and at least one or two half marathons annually.
"I think every race is unique in some way and helps you learn a little more about yourself as runner," O'Leary said. "I had a great four miles running with the 1:35 pace group, and then decided it was time to change the pace. I realized those early miles of being consistent and patient were the key to my overall success."
The Mt. Pleasant Middle School Principal also came to the realization during one race that her approach to running a race might serve as an apt metaphor for how to better tackle other common challenges as well.
"Sometimes I wish I could translate my racing strategy to my daily life," she said. "Sometimes we need to slow down to make progress (and get faster!) I am working on it."
Just after hearing the news, Livingston High School Principal Mark Stern Tweeted, "What an accomplishment! Not everyone has the ability to run amazing school and race!"