Luling teacher eyes marathon as chance to give back

Johnny Braud
Johnny Braud teaches his students during a Tuesday morning class at Luling Elementary.

Johnny Braud began running seriously during his college days and has seen the positive effect it has had on his physical and mental well-being.

The Luling Elementary School teacher has no intention of keeping that all to himself either.

Braud will run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in New Orleans on March 4 with the intention of raising funds to benefit Luling Elementary’s running club, ultimately hoping to broaden efforts to introduce more children to running. He has posted a GoFundMe page and a Facebook video challenging people to pledge money to match each of the 26.2 miles he will run in the marathon (for example, $1 per mile would be a $26.20 donation).

This effort has gained traction early.

In the first 10 days of the GoFundMe posting, almost $350 was already pledged.

“I was astounded to see the donations and the response to this,” Braud said. “I put the goal (on GoFundMe) as $500, and I thought it was pretty farfetched. A little over a week and we’re more than halfway there.

“I’ve even thought about shaving my head and putting it on Facebook if we get to $1,000. We’ll have to see on that. My wife wouldn’t be thrilled if I promised that, I imagine.”

The Luling Elementary Running Club has close to 40 members. It was established in 2016 as a way to help students burn off energy, to introduce them to running and to teach them how to do it with proper technique.

Braud teaches physical education and health at Luling Elementary School. After starting to run in college as a hobby, he increased his ability over the years. He said he’s run a dozen half-marathons and a full marathon since then, meaning March 4 will represent his second full marathon.

To get ramped up for it, he’s committed himself to taking on at least one long run a week of between 16 to 26 miles. He also gets in a couple of smaller runs of three to five miles each week.

“With two little ones at home, a lot of times I’m having to run at midnight because that’s the one time everyone is asleep,” Braud said with a laugh. “It’s definitely been a challenge, but it’s all worth it. It’s provided motivation. When you hit mile 19 and your stomach starts to hurt, your ribs are cramping up, you remember, ‘Okay, what am I doing this for?’ And that gives you the encouragement to finish strong and go for the goal.”

Braud has a degree in sports management and has always been very interested in athletics. He said that comes from knowing how he was impacted as a child through athletics.

“Sports changed my life and I know it can be a really effective tool to reach kids,” he said.

Running, particularly, has enriched his life.


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