Mrs. Ferwerda Crosses the Line (The Finish Line)
By Aubrey Maher, staff writer
There were six miles left in the race when the first drop of rain fell. Then another and another, but Julie Ferwerda thought of her kids and just kept pushing.
Mrs. Ferwerda, the speech teacher at Bradley Beach Elementary School, completed the Atlantic City Marathon on Sunday, October 20 in two hours and 10 minutes. Mrs. Ferwerda, who was then 37, reached the finish line of the 26.2-mile race with her four children, her husband, and her mom cheering her on.
“I feel really proud that I could complete it and believe in myself that I can mentally and physically push through my boundaries and fears,” Mrs. Ferwerda said.
The hardest part was trying to figure out when and how to do it with four young kids, she explained. Her daughter, Mackenzie, is 8. Her son Abram is 6, and her twin sons, William and Jude, are 4. “I was able to train three times a week at 5 a.m. Most of my runs started in the dark before the kids woke up!”
On weekends, she did her long runs along the shore in Bay Head to see the sunrise and sometimes ran through four towns before heading home. She started her longer running routes at six miles and then increased her long runs by one mile each week. She explains that exploring new routes kept the runs more interesting and found that holding a slower pace over a long period of time was more motivating than running fast or sprinting.
Another motivating force was running with a friend, Yvonnie Jamieson, who helped Mrs. Ferwerda achieve her goal by waiting for her and running alongside her.
Mrs. Ferwerda wants to run another marathon but with one of her friends or her husband.
She was inspired at the race when she heard that a seven-year-old had completed a half marathon. She said the crowd applause, ringing cowbells, and posters from loved ones were absolutely amazing. It helped distract her from the discomfort of the rain and pain.
At one point, someone had told her that she did not have a runner’s body and it had always been in the back of her mind creating a box around her. She said shattering that has been such an incredible feeling. That, and seeing her husband and children at the finish line!
Great job, Mrs. Ferwerda! We are proud of you.