Part of TCL’s new “BEYOND THE CLASSROOM” series
At 4:25 a.m., Kelli Boniecki’s alarm starts to shout. After hopping out of bed, she throws on her workout clothes and pink and mint green Asics, then heads out the door to start her day.
Boniecki, TCL’s Early Care and Education Program Director and Instructor, starts every day with a 30-minute run and a CrossFit class, followed by an additional two to three mile run.
But this isn’t just a morning routine. There are many days where Boniecki will run a few extra miles on her favorite trails near her Ridgeland home after a long day of work.
The born-and-raised Beaufortonian started running with one of her neighbors when she attended Georgia Southern in 1988. After some training, Boniecki was a walk-on for the cross county team during her sophomore year.
Over the following 27 years, Boniecki devoted most of her life to running and teaching.
“Getting up each morning and running makes me so much more productive throughout the work day. It keeps me balanced and organized,” Boniecki said. “It’s like I have a nice fresh start every morning.”
After completing dozens of 5Ks to marathons, Boniecki said she dedicates each run to someone in need.
“Even if I’m just going out every morning to run two miles – it’s for someone. It gives me a purpose and a passion, rather than just doing it for myself,” she said.
Aside from daily physical activity, Boniecki also makes sure to get plenty of sleep and eats a healthy diet, filled with plenty of fruits, vegetables and proteins.
But not on Thursdays – this is her cheat day. Every Thursday, Boniecki stops by The Chocolate Tree to grab two chocolate-covered raspberry marshmallows and a peanut butter cup.
Boniecki also finds ways to incorporate physical activity into her course curriculum. Many times, you can spot her classroom having a campus-wide scavenger hunt or walking the Spanish Moss Trail. She also parks her car across campus from her office in order to get in a few extra steps.
Boniecki said that she hopes spreading awareness about child obesity and the need for physical activity will be passed along from her students, and eventually to their students as well.
“My students know to expect some sort of physical movement during class,” Boniecki said with a chuckle.
“I understand that not everyone is going to be like me, but just getting outside and enjoying the beautiful nature that we have around us is important.”