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Kennedy Teacher Completes Ultra-Marathon for late Mom

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Sue Guzman of WHUD Radio

Nathan Bruttell of the Somers Daily Voice
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It’s been 15 years since Kennedy Catholic Spanish teacher and Webmaster Jacob Bergmeier lost his mother, Mary, to breast cancer.  Fifteen years since he, as a 17-year-old high school student, had to make the unenviable decision to have his mom taken off of life support.  It’s been a long journey since then, but one Bergmeier is looking to transform by taking on a unique one of his own.

Since the start of the New Year, this father of two—he and his wife, 1998 Kennedy Catholic graduate Dr. Diana Mejias-Bergmeier, recently announced they are pregnant with their second child—trained to run the 50-mile race of the Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug Ultras on April 21, at Lake Waramaug State Park.  Though admittedly an endurance athlete, Bergmeier had never run a marathon before.  But in memory of his mother, Mary Glennon Bergmeier,ran one every Sunday for six weeks as part of his training.

“It helps to alleviate that pain,” Bergmeier said, referring to all the negative memories that typically surround the death of a loved one.

His training was about getting reacquainted with himself and creating positive memories about his mom’s passing.  As he ran, Bergmeier focused on the memories he chooses to cherish, such as family gatherings, trips and dinners.  Even the running, itself, was an experience.

“I’ve seen countless sunrises as the cool black of night transitions to warm daylight, state line markers from more than a hundred years ago, stone foundations of homes that no longer exist, and friendly horseback riders in the woods who give me advice on where I should run,” Bergmeier said.  “But most of all, I’ve experienced peace of mind.  I have begun to live in the here and now, and worry so much less about the future and past.”

The overcoming, or rather, finding ways around obstacles, is a lesson Bergmeier hopes resonates with his students.  He believes the body is capable of more than the mind will allow.  As he tells his students when it comes to a difficult vocabulary quiz or speaking test, they have to break the challenge down into manageable pieces that they can conquer.  So that when they put it all back together, they’ll realize that they can rise to the challenge and be successful.

“Your boundaries are what you set them to be,” Bergmeier said.

For his part, Bergmeier knew once he made it to the starting line, he would be OK.  A professional photographer, he shared the beauty he encountered while training on his blog.  The photos are part of the new memories he’s made with his mother in mind, but they’re not just for him.  They are also for the beauties that awaited him at the finish line on April 21—his wife, Diana; daughter, Lillian, and their unborn son.

“So they can have a piece of their grandmother,” he said.

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