Don't let Professor Margaret Hadley's small stature and unassuming personality fool you. Juxtaposed with her academic proficiency and love of teaching is a dirty little marathon habit.
Those of you who know Margaret as an English professor might be surprised to learn of her 17-year long addiction to marathons--her appearance is not that of your typical jock.
"I've always wanted to run the London Marathon, this is the marathon," said the London native. "It is such fun and it is such a huge event. Also, the last four miles are right where I went to school."
On the morning of Apr. 18 Margaret will lace up her sneakers and join the 45,000 participants of the Flora London Marathon. To make the trip she has pledged to raise $4,000 dollars in donations for Oxfam International--a confederation of a dozen organizations trying to find lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice. Unfortunately, she has only managed to raise one third of the money to date.
"I'm shy about asking students for donations because even as I know that they would be the ones that are most excited about supporting me, they are the ones who have the least money to offer," she mused. "However, two bucks from 100 people goes a long way."
Margaret and fellow runners will wind their way through London's streets for a little over 26 miles, culminating in a triumphant parade around Buckingham Palace. The annual event is a major fundraiser for numerous charities around the globe, often raising upward of $75 million.
"Running a marathon is an exciting and personally fulfilling experience," she explained. "But with people behind me supporting a charity it's exponentially better."
An English professor at the University of Calgary for the last 14 years, Margaret has entertained and befriended countless pupils. She constantly challenges her students, encouraging participation with a persistent belief that no interpretation is invalid. Her unique enthusiasm and teaching style have made quite an impact on her students, even earning her a Teaching Excellence Award in 2002.
In the next month, however, she has her sights set on the London Marathon and she needs students' help to achieve her goal.
"I think that it's extremely important to have goals," she said. "My goals are actually quite modest, I want to complete in a marathon every year or two. If I'm going to run a marathon, I may as well make it worthwhile."