Cayman Islands marathon queen Beth Schreader has not been seen much on the local scene but she is as busy as ever hoping to do well again in the 26.2 mile run next month.
Schreader was first woman home and third overall last year in the Intertrust Marathon and although her local runs have not been as often, she is in great shape for the big one on 2 December.
It was won in a record time of 2 hours 26 minutes 24 seconds by American newcomer Justin Grunewald with former champ Steve Speirs second in 2:57:17. Schreader’s time was 3:14:28 and she hopes to repeat that. Both will men have signed up for this one, organisers Kelly Holding have confirmed.
“I’ve been around but have missed quite a bit of events,” Schreader said. “I was off-island for two of the three Fidelity two-mile races in September. The middle week I was here but did a long run with Pam Abbott and Julie-Ann Pearson that morning instead.
“I was going to volunteer at the triathlon but had an event the night before so I had to back out earlier in the fall. I was also away this past weekend so I missed the Pirates Week 5k. I am here this weekend so I’ll be at the To Hell and Back 10k. It’s the first time in three years I’ve been in Cayman for the 10k so I’m looking forward to it.”
Schreader feels in good form with no serious injury worries. “I reduced my mileage quite a bit this year because 80-100 mile training weeks just aren’t sustainable when you do this as a hobby.
“I’ve been consistently in the 50-60 miles per week range, which I know sounds like a lot to most people but to perform at a certain level at the marathon distance takes a lot more than that.”
She has no idea if she will be the female winner of the marathon again. “It really depends on who flies in from overseas. While my times are better than average, there are hundreds if not thousands of women much faster than I am in the US and elsewhere.
“So, it would be quite easy for one of them to come down here and beat me to the finish. I’ve won the last four years in a row so I’m sure it’s time for someone else to break the tape.
“Also, I just raced a marathon a month ago in Columbus Ohio. There are only six weeks between that race and Cayman. I spent the first week recovering and mostly just did yoga.
“I eased back into training during the second week with a few more miles. I was sick the third week so I didn’t do much. Hopefully, I can get a couple hard runs in, including the 10k on Sunday, before its time to start tapering and resting. With that six week period being what it is I doubt I’ll be in prime racing condition.
“I think I’m in about 3:15-3:20 shape. As long as I cross the finish line it will be a success. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.”
There are many aspects of the local race Schreader is looking forward to. “This will be my 20th marathon and the seventh consecutive year of taking part in the Cayman Marathon (2006 – third in the marathon, 2007 – third in the half, 2008-11 – first in the marathon).
“One of the great things about the race is that it’s a local event. It’s fantastic to not have to travel overseas to run a very well organised and fun marathon. Every year the race organisers manage to make it better and better.
“In particular, this year I’m looking forward to having my name on my bib number, which is a new feature that’s being offered for the first time.
“I also really enjoy meeting all the runners who fly in from overseas. The running community is full of warm, welcoming people with a passion for the sport and it’s always nice to make new friends.
“One of the other things I love about the race is the community involvement. From the sponsors, to the water stops, to the Red Cross, to the lead cyclists, to the spectators, it is really the volunteers that make the race experience as good as it is.”
Schreader ran the Columbus Marathon because it had been two years since she raced seriously in a cold weather long run.
“This past spring in Boston it was an almost record breaking 90 degrees on race day. Last fall I didn’t do a marathon besides Cayman and the spring before that in Boston I ran the marathon at a very easy pace with a friend for fun.
“So the last solid race effort I put in was at the 2010 Road2Hope Marathon in Hamilton, Ontario where I ran a 3:03 and placed third overall female.
“There is a huge difference between running a marathon in Cayman or summer weather and ideal cold racing weather. You’ll always be much faster in colder, less humid weather because your body has to expend so much less effort to run at the same pace.
“I didn’t really know what to expect at Columbus, especially with the reduced training I’d been doing, but I ended up having one of those rare and elusive runs where everything comes together perfectly. I had an incredible race and ran a 3:05:54 (7:06 minute pace) with a nice negative split and finished as 26th overall female. I was very pleased with my result as I really didn’t think I was going to run that fast of a time.”