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Barnwell Teacher Jerod Broadbooks Competed at Olympic Trials in Early February After Running Just One Marathon

Payton Johnston
Jerod Broadbooks gets into a starting position on the Barnwell Middle School track. Broadbooks had to find odd times to run during his preparation for the Olympic Trials and would often run during any off time he had between his teaching career and his personal life.

The Olympics is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, so the selection process to ensure the best athletes are selected for it is one of the harshest and most selective of any major sporting event. To even qualify for the Olympic marathon trial on Feb. 3, runners must have run a marathon with a time of 2:18:00. Many runners could dedicate their entire lives to train and prepare and still wouldn’t end up having an eligible time. So, when Barnwell Middle School band teacher Jerod Broadbooks qualified for the trial after running a 2:14:59 at his first ever marathon, he was overcome with shock and excitement.

“Pretty much the only thing I hadn’t done as a runner is run a full marathon until I ran the ‘California International Marathon’ back in November,” Broadbooks said. “I didn’t really know what to expect since I had never ran a marathon before so to be able to qualify for the trials was surreal.”

Broadbooks ran during his time in high school and even ran during all four years of his time in college at Lindenwood. However, after he graduated in 2019, Broadbooks took a break from running. He changed his focus to primarily focus on his future as an educator. Broadbooks would take over as Barnwell Middle School’s band director in 2021 but his impact on students and his fellow faculty would immediately be felt. To show their support for Broadbooks, his co- workers and all of the students at Barnwell would host a surprise send-off for him when they found out he qualified for the Olympic Trials.

“Mr. Broadbooks has been a great addition to the Barnwell community in his short time here and even though we teach completely different subjects, a couple of my co- workers and I wanted to surprise him with a surprise send-off to celebrate his awesome accomplishment of qualifying for the Olympic Trials,” Barnwell P.E teacher Jacqueline Gettemeier said.

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He even has a friendly bet with some of my more competitive students who think that they can outrun him, that he’ll beat them in a race anytime and anywhere

— Gettemeier

Although Broadbooks decided to run competitively again, he had a new challenge to face. He was no longer a college kid who had a consistent schedule where he had daily blocks of time marked off where he could run. He was now a middle school band director and a track coach for Francis Howell High on the side. All of these were very time consuming and he needed to find a way that he could dedicate time for all of his commitments that would lower his stress levels to a minimum.

“For most of my training I was juggling a lot of things,” Broadbooks said. “I recently stepped down as the cross country and track coach because I had to cut something out because things were just too hectic. I found myself running at these really odd times and there were definitely a lot of early mornings but I managed to pull through.”

To move onto the Olympics, Broadbooks would need to place top three at the trial. Heading into the Olympic trial, Broadbooks qualifying time was among the 50th best of the people competing. He ended up placing 26th which is a big step up from his projected placement. Although he didn’t qualify for the Olympics, Broadbooks enjoyed his time in Orlando and was grateful he had the opportunity to compete.

“I placed higher than I was originally ranked so that’s super cool and I’m proud about that,” Broadbooks said. “I also got to spend time with my wife Megan down in Orlando as well and overall it was just a great time and an experience I won’t forget.”

Broadbooks isn’t giving up his Olympic dreams, as he plans on training and competing in more marathons prior to the 2028 Olympic season. During that time, he is also going to focus on his other two passions; music and teaching the youth. The past few years have allowed for some self discovery and Broadbooks has pushed himself to limits he didn’t even know he had.

“The past few years have been a little crazy in a good way,” Broadbooks said. “I got married, became a band teacher at a great school that’s close to where I grew up and I discovered that I still got some gas in the tank that I didn’t know I had left in me after college.”

This story was originally published on on March 26, 2024.