EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

March 26, 2013

Best of both worlds

At Boston Marathon, Peterson will be running and teaching

Once a teacher, always a teacher.

And that’s part of the beauty for John Peterson, a sixth-grade teacher at the Page School in West Newbury, as he prepares for next month’s Boston Marathon.

Peterson, a former basketball and baseball player at Amesbury High and a graduate of Merrimack College, first got into running three years ago. Within a year, he got the marathon bug.

Since 2011, he already has run three marathons, starting with Chicago in 2011, followed by Pittsburgh (with a personal-best time of 3:43) and San Francisco.

“I had always done team sports, but I was looking for something else to do and my brother got me into running,” said Peterson. “I really took to it.”

Peterson, 38, likes the structure of running, being outside, the exhilaration of finishing a race, the obvious physical benefits — basically, just about everything.

Jumping right into the marathon distance seemed natural to Peterson and he became so attracted to it that it gave him a side benefit.

“I like to travel and the best part is picking a city and going there,” said Peterson. “It’s a great way to see a part of the country you might not have.”

Of course, Boston isn’t exactly foreign to Peterson but when his sister, Elizabeth, qualified, she asked if he’d join her. They have run virtually all of their other long races together so he agreed.

But it was too late to qualify for Boston in 2013 and Peterson doubted that he could do it anyway, so he decided to check the opportunities for representing a charity.

As luck would have it, Peterson discovered GoKids Boston, an organization that battles obesity in children, which is something that had bothered him for awhile.

“I’ve seen at school how a lot of kids don’t eat well and don’t make healthy choices,” he said. “Some of them are already overweight. Others aren’t yet but, if they’re not eating well, it will catch up with them.

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