The Boston Marathon is the oldest race of 26.2 miles in the world. It was run last week and over 25,000 competed.
Cayman had three residents from these shores in it, training partners Beth Schreader, Russell Coleman and Scott Brittain, who happen to be the two fastest men and fastest woman on this island.
All three finished in fantastic times with Schreader beating her personal best by a stretch. She ran it last year so knew what to expect.
Last Monday’s running of the Boston Marathon continued a 113-year old tradition.
Held on Patriots’ Day, a Boston state holiday, there was $800,000 in prize money on offer.
First held in 1897, the Boston Marathon has gone through numerous changes, from the official inclusion of women in 1972 to the first cash prize awarded in 1986, a departure from the original olive branch wreath.
Since the first wheelchair entrant in 1975, various divisions have been formed to offer individual with disabilities or impairments a chance to compete.
Ethiopian Deriba Merga was the men’s winner in a time of 2 hours 8 minutes 42 and Kenya’s Salina Kosgei claimed the women’s crown in 2:32:16.
Brittain finished in 2:37:47 which was 138th overall and Coleman finished in 2:49:17 which was 413th overall.
Schreader said: ‘I’m extremely pleased with my time of 3:03:12. That’s more than a 9.5 minute personal record off my previous best time, which was in Cayman in December.
‘My training for Boston went really well. I did a 16 week programme of 85-90 mile weeks. I met up with the guys once a week for speed work, which is always a tough session and very motivating.
‘This cycle I also did a few long runs with some combo of Jasper Mikkelsen, Russ and Scott. Their long run pace is essentially my race pace so this helped me get some faster long runs in.
‘They really helped me a lot to not give up and keep up the pace. Since Cayman is so flat, our options for hill training were pretty limited.
We tried to incorporate hill training by running 15-30 minutes back and forth across the bridge behind the Ritz during our long runs.
‘I also focused on doing a lot of squats and lunges to help build strength in my quads to handle the Boston course. I could go on forever about training but basically I felt very well prepared going into the race.’
Schreader knew she was capable of running a much faster time than Cayman and that her Boston training was going well.
So she went up to Tampa the first weekend of March and ran the half-marathon there as a tune-up race to assess her progress.
‘I really surprised myself and ran a 1:26:36. This was a huge personal best time and I placed fourth overall female (40th overall including the men) out of over 1,800 women. (The entire field was 3,448).
‘This gave me a lot of confidence that my goal of 3:05 in Boston was realistic.’
On race day she felt great and apart from setting a personal best she was also determined to enjoy it.
‘I high-fived tons of kids along the route, I chatted briefly with other runners I encountered along the way, I thanked volunteers at the water stops and so on.
‘This really made the race a great experience for me this year. I figured I may as well have fun out there and whatever happens, happens.
‘I planned to run seven minute miles and only checked my watch everyfive miles to see if I was on pace. Other than that, I ran by feel and didn’t stress about my splits.
‘The math was easy to do – 5 miles 35 minutes, 10 miles 1:10, and so on.
‘Surprisingly, I was on pace each time I checked. The pace felt really easy at the beginning, which is a sign I was running the appropriate pace. There is a saying in marathon running that if the pace feels too fast, it’s too fast. If the pace feels just right, you’re going too fast. If the pace feels too slow, you’re going just right.
‘I felt pretty good throughout the race and even during the Newton Hills near the end where I passed a ton of runners.
At mile 24 her legs really started to feel burned out but she sucked it up and pushed through the last two miles.
Throughout the race she was thinking of Brittain and Coleman ahead and was hoping she wouldn’t leave them waiting too long at the finish.
‘I was also thinking of everyone back in Cayman that were tracking me. They were able to see our splits every 5k and I didn’t want to let anyone down.
‘When I crossed the finish in 3:03:12 I felt very happy that all my hard work had paid off. I’m still a bit shocked I ran as well and as fast as I did. I placed in the top 100 women at Boston (89th female)!
‘I am so proud of all of us. We did such a great job and had a fun weekend. Our support crews were amazing. Dan (my boyfriend), Gemma (Russ’s girlfriend) and Sarah (Scott’s girlfriend) all made the trip.
‘Also, my parents drove down from Toronto, Russ’s parents flew in from England (and are now here in Cayman for a visit) and Sarah’s parents, who were down in Cayman for a visit from Australia, flew up to watch.
‘They were all so supportive and encouraging of our efforts. It was great to have them all there.
Next up for me is the Chicago Marathon in October where I will make my first attempt at a sub-three hour marathon. Mike McDonald is also registered so it will be great to have someone to do some training with over the summer.