This Virginia teacher ran more than 100 miles to raise college scholarship money for her students

Posted at 11:47 AM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 18:57:48-04

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. — There is no denying Kate Fletcher found her calling. The English teacher at Louisa County High School shares her passion for writing and reading with her students.

“I’ve been teaching here just shy of 20 years,” Fletcher said. “The real reason I keep teaching year after year is because I enjoy helping young people and getting to know them.”

But some of Ms. Fletcher’s most important lessons are taught far from her classroom. Year after year the athlete goes the distance for her students. 

“I run for so many different reasons. It feels like I open up my mind. It brings me a kind of peace,” Fletcher said.

Ms. Fletcher embarks on an ultra run every year.

“I think it sometimes feels really meditative,” Fletcher said. “It is often solitary. Yes.”

Her muscle-aching effort raises thousands of dollars in scholarships for graduating seniors.

In 2016, Kate Fletcher ran around the school track.

The goal was 40 miles. 

The next year Kate set her sights on 50 miles.

She even ran to the State Capitol in Richmond.

Katie Fletcher
Louisa County teacher and runner Katie Fletcher

“I never expected it to get as big as it did,” Fletcher said. “It is about doing something really hard. And not quitting when I want to and learning that I’m stronger than I thought.”

The 49-year-old teacher’s most ambitious Lion Pride Run to date took more than a day.

“I ran to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and that was 105 miles.”

When the course takes its toll the thought of her students in need provides an extra push.

“And that is absolutely motivating to me,” Fletcher said.

Katie Fletcher
Louisa County teacher and runner Katie Fletcher

Fellow teacher Meredith Williamson helps Fletcher with logistics along the way.

“She never ceases to amaze me. She is the energizer bunny,” Williamson said. “There is not a selfish bone in her body I think she would give the shirt off her back if it would help a kid.”

This spring Fletcher channeled her inner Patriot.

”It is hard to explain why a woman is dressed in colonial clothing and a bright green and yellow tutu,” Fletcher said. 

Katie Fletcher
Louisa County teacher and runner Katie Fletcher

She retraced the 40-mile ride of Revolutionary War hero Jack Jouett who warned Thomas Jefferson at Monticello of approaching British troops.

“I think it was fun for them to see history come to life,” she said.

Dozens of Louisa County students and Mr. Jefferson himself welcomed Katie the next morning.

”It is just kind of amazing to marvel at how the students react to her when she arrives. It gives them a sense of “Oh my gosh. If she can do it so can I.’”

Katie Fletcher
Louisa County teacher and runner Katie Fletcher

“That feeling of being a part of something larger than myself is what I’m probably mostly intensely feeling at the finish line,” Fletcher said.

Louisa County High School Principal Rodney Redd marvels at Ms. Fletcher’s dedication.

“Her passion and her energy reverberate throughout the entire building,” Mr. Redd said. “I think she has some of the highest levels of intestinal fortitude I have ever seen.”

Fellow Louisa teacher Olivia Grubbs finds inspiration in tracking Fletcher’s progress.

“Hard things will come and they’re going to come. Just keep pushing forward because you can do it. That is something she taught me,” Grubbs said.

The 2020 graduate of Louisa High School is also one of more than 70 of Katie’s former students who has benefitted from a Lion Pride Run Scholarship.

“Being a teacher she taught me what it is like to work hard and try your best. But I think even more as a human she taught me what it means to care for people,” Fletcher said.

She is an educator pouring her soles into each lesson plan.

“Everyone can find that outlet in their life that brings them peace and makes them happy. Brings them some kind of joy,” Fletcher said. “The day we hand out the scholarships is probably my second favorite day after the run.”

Kate Fletcher is an English teacher who takes the run-on sentence to heart.

”We even have a saying about the run that there is not a real finish line that it always continues," she said.

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