Running the numbers: Local math teacher qualifies for Olympic trials

Posted at 3:49 PM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 17:19:39-04

Naomi Fulton has already accomplished one of her life goals, being an 8th-grade math teacher at Christian Education Leadership Academy. 

"I've always wanted to be a teacher," said Naomi. "I love kids, I love math, so it's just a beautiful combination them."

Naomi’s passions don't start and end with her students. If you look at the board in her classroom, you’ll see medals hanging.

"I was actually in high school and college short distance, so running a marathon for me was a big deal," she said. "I started with half marathons and always wanted to do a full marathon. So it was just a big joy and excitement to just do the full distance."

Now with a bulletin board full of finished marathons, Naomi set a new goal: run the Chicago Marathon and make the Olympic trials. 

She even enlisted the help of her students. 

"Yes, I did," said Naomi. "My husband cheers for me so I gave the kids extra credit for whoever could get the best cheer path for my husband to follow."

With the best cheer path mapped out, Naomi tied up her laces and ran.

Two hours, 40 minutes, and 58 seconds later she crossed the finish line, qualifying for the Olympic trials with four minutes to spare. 

"It was pretty incredible," she said. "It was very emotional at the finish. It has always been a goal but it took a lot of work. A lot of people believed and me and it was just a matter of stepping in myself and believing that I could do it."

Weeks later, former students like Caroline Daniels, are still trying to figure out how Mrs. Fulton juggled it all. 

"It's crazy to me how she could balance being a teacher, being a mother, being there for her students," said Caroline. "She's taught me that if you keep trying you will accomplish your goal."

When you think about it, who better to teach equations on how to defy the odds and make dreams come true than an 8th-grade math teacher.

"You just have to take it day by day, mile by mile, and minute by minute," said Naomi.