COCOA, Fla. — Each school day, Brevard Public Schools bus driver Molly Kirk transports high school students on bus 1461.
Kirk, a mother of three daughters — two teenagers and one 12-year-old — enjoys driving her school bus, but she has another interest outside of her job and her family. She runs.
Kirk is not a casual jogger. She is a marathon runner, and she recently completed the New York City Marathon, which is considered one of the world’s Top 5 marathons.
“One way to gain entry in the New York City Marathon is through a lottery system,” Kirk said. “I was surprised when I beat the 1 in 9 lottery odds and was chosen on my first try. I was thrilled.”
The marathon was more than just a 26.2-mile journey. Kirk’s day started at 6 a.m., when she met her bus for transport to the race start location. The marathon was scheduled to begin at 10:10 a.m. It was preceded by the national anthem and then a cannon blast to signal the start of the race.
The course began on Staten Island and headed to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and finally into Central Park in Manhattan.
The sea of runners crossed five bridges, ran through many diverse neighborhoods and was cheered on by more than a million spectators. This was Kirk’s first trip to New York City, so she had plenty of sights to see along the run.
“The hardest part,” she said, “was about the 16-mile mark, running up the Queensboro Bridge.”
The New York City Marathon is the world’s largest and perhaps most prestigious marathon, with a record number of 47,438 starters this year.
“I am deeply grateful that I had the privilege of being a part of such a tremendous event,” Kirk said. “The amount of people running for causes and charities was both staggering and inspiring. I was amazed at the size of the huge international field and their supporters that lined the race route and would cheer loudly as their favorites raced past.”
Kirk completed the 26.2-mile run in four hours and 28 minutes, which resulted in her name being listed as a finisher in The New York Times.
Submitted by Mike Connors, director of transportation at Brevard Public Schools.