Sippican School teacher running in the footsteps of a legend

Apr 7, 2018

More than 50 years after her historic Boston Marathon run, you still can't say no to Kathrine Switzer.

That's what Sippican Elementary School teacher Nicole Boussy found out at a meeting of Switzer's organization, Team 261 Fearless.

The organization began in 2015 and includes running clubs scattered around the country, as well as education and communication programs and social running events. According to Team 261 Fearless' website, " We aim to...create a global community for women runners of all abilities to support, encourage, and inspire each other towards a positive sense of self and fearlessness."

Boussy and Switzer got to chatting during the meeting. "You're running the [Boston] Marathon, right?" Switzer asked at one point in the conversation.

Slightly starstruck, Boussy nodded along in agreement.

"I hadn't even thought about it at the time, but you can't say no to Kathrine Switzer!" she said with a laugh.

From that moment on, Boussy was pledged to run in the Boston Marathon, which runs on April 16 this year.

This is Boussy's third time running the marathon, and she said it's been a somewhat difficult training year. She started training in October and runs whenever she can find the time, whether that be 5 a.m., noon or 8 p.m. The weather, though, has taken its toll.

"We had three storms in 10 days in March, when it should be getting nice. There was ice and snow and wind. I was chased into snowbanks by drivers who weren't paying attention," she said. "I just want to make it to the finish line healthy."

Boussy said that the whole community has turned out to support her. Fellow teachers are always checking in to see if she's been running in the cold and she's gotten donations from local businesses like the Brewfish and Blue Hair Salon.

Even her students have chipped in. One day, Boussy recounted, they asked her how many days were left until the Marathon.

"I told them 150," she said. "I came back into the classroom later and they'd created a big paper chain with 150 rings."

Each day, a student pulls off one ring. Now, the chain has dwindled; there are six rings remaining.

Whenever Nicole Boussy is struggling during the long preparation for the Boston Marathon, she thinks of her kids. After all, she said, she challenges her students to try things and get out of their comfort zones every day.

"Whenever I'm in the middle of a really tough training session," she said, "I look down at the shirt they made me, and I read all of the things they wrote to cheer me on. And then I think—I can do this!"

Boussy needs to raise $7,500 for the race. As of Tuesday, April 10 she had raised $4,517.

Visit to learn more about her journey or send donations.