BEING reminded poignantly through the death of a colleague that life is too short, Ali Brown is looking forward to facing a long-held personal challenge to run the New York Marathon.
The Gerringong Public School teacher will leave Australia on October 31, not only to fulfil a lifelong ambition of running in the marathon, but also to raise funds in the memory of fellow teacher Jenny Byrne.
Mrs Brown said the project was a wonderful way for the students to remember their beloved teacher and they have loved watching the progress of donations.
"We go on the website most days and the lovely thing is that when people make donations, they can leave messages of support and the children have loved reading them," she said.
"It also means the kids have a vested interest. I guess it is something positive to come out of this tragedy."
Mrs Brown said she and Jenny became close colleagues when Mrs Brown started at Gerringong earlier this year.
"When she lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this year it was a massive blow to the school and community," she said.
"I guess the irony is that I now teach her beautiful 4B class, so my class and I decided to dedicate my run to Jenny's memory and raise funds for her favourite charity, the McGrath Foundation.
"So we set ourselves a target of raising $4000 and to date we have reached $3655.
"With donations not due to close until the end of November, we are confident of surpassing our target."
Despite only taking up running seriously two years ago, Mrs Brown is looking forward to what she calls "the ultimate challenge".
"I have only run one marathon before and that was in Melbourne," she said.
"I finished in four hours, so if I can cross the finishing line in three hours 59 minutes, I will be thrilled."
■ To donate, go to run.gofundraise.com.au/page.ByrneJenny and click on 'find a friend' or 'team'.
The name of the team is 4B - Bold and Beautiful.