Marshall Second Grade Teacher Gets a Marathon-Sized Surprise


Sarah Frydlewicz will run her first marathon on Nov. 3rd with the help of Tata Consultancy Services

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Marshall Elementary School Second Grade Teacher Sarah Frydlewicz was in the middle of a typical Thursday morning when a group of visitors entered her classroom.

She was taken aback at first. But then, Frydlewicz’s concern turned to elation when she read the sign one of the visitors held that read, “Sarah, You Are In!”

“This is so exciting!” Frydlewicz exclaimed. Turning to her students, who were a little bewildered by the interruption, she said, “Everybody, I’m running the New York City Marathon, and I’m so excited!” The class erupted with applause.

Unbeknownst to Frydlewicz, the surprise visit had been coordinated by District Communications Director Paul Brubaker and Assistant Principal Laura Swyberius, who had alerted the students’ families of the visit ahead of time.

Weeks earlier, Frydlewicz had applied to run the TCS New York City Marathon as part of Team TCS Teachers—a group of 50 teachers from throughout the United States and Canada who would be given complimentary VIP entry to the race from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The company creates the mobile app and provides tech support for the TCS New York City Marathon and several other marathons worldwide. According to company officials, about 1,000 teachers had applied to run with Team TCS Teachers in 2024.

Second Grade Teacher Sarah Frydlewicz flanked by TCS representatives after they surprised her with the news that she will run with Team TCS Teachers on Nov. 3rd.

Dr. Kevin F. Gilbert, Acting Superintendent of the South Orange and Maplewood School District, offered his congratulations to Frydlewicz.

“On behalf of everyone in the District, I salute Ms. Frydlewicz on taking up the challenge to run the TCS New York City Marathon and for winning this sponsorship that will help you enter the race,” Gilbert said. “Our hearts will be with Ms. Frydlewicz every step of the way on November 3rd. And I hope she doesn’t forget to put in for a personal day on November 4th.”

“The mission of Team TCS Teachers is to celebrate and honor teachers who give so much to their students, schools, and communities,” said Megan Wright, a Sports Sponsorship Manager at TCS. “Sarah, you are a dynamic and inspirational educator. Much like teaching, running a marathon takes preparation and determination. TCS is thrilled to help you take on the challenge of running 26.2 miles on the streets of New York City.”

Frydlewicz had told her runner’s story when she applied for the sponsorship.

“Running was something that was more of a punishment for a long time. It wasn’t something to treat myself kindly,” she said.

Asst. Principal Laura Swyberius and Second Grade Teacher Sarah Frydlewicz

That changed during the pandemic shutdown. Running became a reason to escape the house with her infant daughter nestled safely in a jogging stroller.

“I found a lot of strength through that. I knew that I had this little person watching me,” she said.

November 3rd will be Frydlewicz’s first marathon. She has previously run three half-marathons. In recent years, she began watching television coverage of the TCS NYC Marathon and felt inspired by the thousands of people who completed the 26.2 trek from the Verrazano Bridge to the finish line in Central Park.

“I am so pumped,” she said. “I’m truly excited to be one of those people.”

As a member of the TCS Team Teachers team, TCS will pay Frydlewicz’s fee to run the race and give her access to the VIP amenities the company provides before and after the race.

Frydlewicz said she will be running for her daughter on race day. But Frydlewicz hopes to impart a lesson to her daughter and all of her students by completing the race.

“You can do hard things,” she said.

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