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marathon-running teacher


For South Milwaukee special education teacher Jodi Kleinfeldt, long distance running gives her the opportunity to provide her students with valuable life lessons.


A veteran of four marathon competitions as well having experience as a triathlete, Kleinfeldt believes the rigors of distance running and training can serve as motivation for her students when they need focus and energy in the classroom.  


“When my students have apathy I tell them that they must reach outside their comfort zone and try difficult tasks that will help them feel good about themselves. You can do difficult things and be successful, “said Kleinfeldt who first came to the South Milwaukee Middle School staff in 2005 as a Grade 6 special education teacher. She returned in 2013 to settle into her present Grade 7 position following a six-year absence to start her family. 


In mid-October, Kleinfeldt completed the Detroit Free Press Marathon in her home town of Detroit, Michigan. Her time of 3 hours 44 minutes 30 seconds made her eligible to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon for the second time in her running career.


Kleinfeldt spoke of the training required to complete the demanding 26.2-mile Detroit event. “I trained from June through October, running three to four days per week,” Kleinfeldt said. “I ran tempo runs, (faced-paced workouts that require sustained effort over distance) I did interval training, (high-intensity sessions of fast-paced bursts of speed) and long, slow runs of 6 to 20 miles in length. I also did weight training as well.” 


Kleinfeldt also brings running gear into the classroom from competitions such as the Detroit marathon to give her students tangible examples of what hard work and effort can reward those who put in the necessary effort to achieve success. 


“You have to have the courage to try difficult tasks,” Kleinfeldt said. “Otherwise I never would have had the courage to try my first marathon.”