Florek makes baby steps back

Beth Florek has taken a break from the running scene for a while. She has good reason too – motherhood.  

Cayman’s marathon queen is back in training, however, and by the next Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon in December may well be in shape to challenge for the crown she has made her own. But Florek is not placing too much pressure on herself.  

She is likely to make her return to the racing scene in the fall at the Fidelity two mile series in September, although this year she might be competing in the stroller division.  

Florek only started to get back into a routine running schedule two months ago, having had son Conner at the end of January in a very different kind of marathon that ended after 19 hours with an emergency Caesarian section.  

“As a result, I had to take six weeks off and do absolutely no activity while I healed,” Florek said.  

“That’s the longest break from running I’ve taken since I was a teenager, but I was so busy adjusting to life with a newborn that I didn’t mind at all.” 

The 33-year-old accountant with KPMG started back really slowly in March. “Despite running my entire pregnancy, including doing a 10K the morning I went into labor, that first run back was really rough.” 

Now back to running five or six days a week but at much lower mileage than normal, Florek’s endurance is returning, but her speed needs a lot of work and will take some time.  

“After pregnancy and a C-section it would be a recipe for injury if I attempted to throw myself back into 70 mile weeks with lots of fast running right away. But I hope to be back to close to that in another few months.” 

Having a newborn definitely throws an element of the unpredictable into life, she said, so her plan to run on any particular morning is not certain.  

“It’s definitely worth it, though, and I love being a mom. Conner has actually already been to his first 5K. I walked with him in the stroller at the Irish Jog while my husband Dan raced. We made it less than a mile before Conner wanted out of the stroller and to be held, so we took a ‘did not finish’ and cut through to the finish area. Maybe the next attempt will be more successful.”  

Canadian Florek has participated in the Cayman Marathon ever since 2006, except for last year when eight months pregnant. In 2006, she was third in the full, in 2007 she was third in the half, and from 2008-2012 she won the full. Her winning marathon times have all been between 3 hours, 08 minutes and 3:14. The course record still belongs to American Julie Stackhouse from Florida who ran a 3:06 in 2006. 

The Cayman Marathon will always be particularly special to Florek because, apart from dominating for years, in 2012 she got married two days before, so she combined wedding planning and celebrations with her fifth consecutive triumph in the event.  

Being out of the loop, Florek has not noticed how other female runners are doing. She feels there are some great runners here and everyone benefits when the quality of the competition improves.  

A couple of speedy ladies have moved away, such as Julie-Ann Pearson and Laura Knox-Clingerman, but plenty of others remain, including Pam Abbott – who is also making a comeback after having a baby – Tracey Walker, Emily Davies and Tiffany Cole.  

“As much as I would absolutely love to run the Cayman Marathon again, I won’t make a decision about whether or not to race until the beginning of August,” Florek said.  

“That will be around 16 weeks from race day and when I would typically start marathon specific training. By then Conner will be six months old and hopefully on more of a predictable schedule.” 

She will also be back at work. As much as she loves the Cayman Marathon, as far as she is concerned, it will always be there. “If my training is too disruptive to our family life with such a young baby, then I’ll hold off another year. Right now I’m just happy to be able to get out for an hour or so most mornings.”  


Beth Florek won her fifth consecutive Cayman Marathon in 2012. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD

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