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West Michigan woman realizes dream after gaining entrance to Boston Marathon

West Michigan woman realizes dream after gaining entrance to Boston Marathon. (File - CBS)

The dream of running in the Boston Marathon is coming true for one West Michigan woman.

Stephanie “Tina” Bertuca, a Bloomingdale High School teacher and coach, has been trying to qualify for the world-renowned race for the past two years and she told Newschannel 3’s Franque Thompson she is thanking her students for helping her accomplish her goal.

The old idiom goes, “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.”

A message Bertuca coaches on the track and teaches in the classroom.

It takes practice to compete at the best level says Bertuca.

She said, “Go out there, do the best you can, give it all that you got don't leave anything on the course.”

Motivation from the coach and hard work are what these students say helped them become conference cross-country champions.

Nelly Gonzalez, a junior, said, “I didn't know we could get this far but we really did as a team. We are like family now.”

Family that encouraged Bertuca to try out for the Boston Marathon. She says in her first tryout she was accepted.

Bertuca said, “I made the Boston qualifying time, but I didn't get to run and so that made me go 'Ok, I'm going to do it this time.'”

She ran with her students every day as part of her training.

Bertuca said, “Inspired me to just keep going. When I got I tired I looked to them. I think when they got tired they looked to me and it helped a lot to have them.”

It's that kind of encouragement Bertuca says that helped her qualify again for the Boston Marathon and this time she'll get to run.

Bertuca's qualifying time to compete in the race was three hours and 43 minutes. The Boston Marathon is April 16.

She said, “When I got my official runners passport and my bib number I had this moment of 'Oh my gosh, what am I doing? This is really happening? I'm going to be running with some of the best runners in the world.'”

A dream Bertuca says can come true for her students as long as they stay the course.

Bertuca said, “Never give up. If the first time you don't make it try again and again and again until you accomplish that goal.”

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