Will three times be the charm for twenty-two year old Kendra Schaaf of Craven, Saskatchewan? She has now joined her third University team, during her varsity career. She started with the University of Washington Huskies in 2009, and then moved onto The University of North Carolina until 2012. In her final year of eligibility she will be competing for the University of New Mexico Lobos.
In high school she was Canada’s top junior runner as she won the Canadian Junior Cross Country Championships in 2007 and placed 20th overall at the 2008 World Junior Cross Country Championships in Scotland. She was the top finisher for Team Canada.
Schaaf placed seventh in the 5000 metre event at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Poland, and finished 13th in the 1500 metres. She also won the junior women's 4km at the 2008 NACAC Cross Country Championships, leading Canada to the title over the U.S.
Schaaf swept provincial titles during her junior and senior years, winning the cross-country titles as well as winning the 800m, 1500m, and 3000m events on the track both years. She set numerous provincial records, finished second in the 5000m at the Victoria International Track Classic, running to a personal best of 16:05, then won the 1500m at the Harry Jerome meet in 4:20, also a personal best. She also finished third in the 3000m at 2008 Canadian Junior Nationals, and 4th in the 1500m.
In 2011, Schaaf placed 11th in the mile at the 2012 New Balance Collegiate Invitational with a 4:46.63 clocking. She won the 3000m at the Gene Anderson UNC Invitational, racing a 9:44.43 time, to the only sub-10 minute in the field. She also claimed ninth in the 5000m at the ACC Indoor Championships, finishing in 16:39.14.
Three times may prove to be the charm as she has spent most of the 2012/2013 year training. Perhaps she will be refreshed and fit and ready to compete at the highest level for the Lobos and Team Canada.
3,000 meters: 9:20.53
5,000 meters: 16:39.14
1,500 meters: 4:18.61
3,000 meters: 9:14.62
5,000 meters: 15:52.33
10,000 meters: 33:57.81
CK: What sort of running community is there in Craven, SK?
KS: Haha, there is absolutely no running community in Craven, SK. It is a small town, of only about 500 people. I am sure the people just think I am crazy when they see me running down gravel roads, most of the time with my dad following behind on a bike or in the car. Regina, SK is the city that I trained in and where my track club was based out of. Regina has more of a running community. There are a few track clubs, and of course Simon Bairu has helped put Regina on the running map.
CK: Tonight the temperature in Craven is to go down to -29. What is the coldest temperature that you have run in?
KS: Ya that is a pretty typical winter temperature for home. I don’t know exactly what the coldest temperature I have run in is; I would have to guess around -20, maybe a little colder with the wind-chill. Cold enough to have a frost covered face and brain freeze. It has actually gotten down to -15 to -20 here in Albuquerque since I have gotten here! In high school I ran in a lot colder temps, I don’t know if I was tougher or just more stupid haha. Throughout college when I have come home for Christmas I stick to the treadmill not only because of the freezing cold temperatures but of ice and poor footing. It is just not worth the risk of tweaking something.
CK: Ever take in the Craven Country Jamboree?
KS: No, I have never been to the Craven Country Jamboree. We can hear it from my house and I have gone on top of the valley to hear it even more clearly. The Jamboree is actually a real pain and not many who live in and around Craven actually like it. It makes it super difficult to get home every day throughout that week.
CK: Will you be completing your eligibility in North Carolina this year?
KS: I will not be running track for North Carolina this spring. I graduated from UNC this past summer and will be completing my eligibility as I attend grad school at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
CK: What sort of mileage are you running at this time? What does your training week look like?
KS: Throughout the fall I was focusing on getting in some consistency with some lighter interval workouts and good tempo runs. I spent about five weeks in Colorado in the late fall to get adjusted to altitude before coming here to Albuquerque. My mileage is usually anywhere from 55-65 mpw. I have found that supplementing my mileage with cross training keeps me healthy as well.
CK: What are your spring competition plans?
KS: I haven’t discussed spring racing in much detail with my coaches, Coach Hav (A'Havahla Haynes) and Coach Joe Franklin, at this time. Right now we are just focusing on getting into the groove and swing of things here in Albuquerque, adjusting to altitude properly and getting in consistency throughout the indoor season. I would like to run a great race at the Stanford and Mt Sac meets. I am not sure if those would be a 5000m or a 10000m. And of course conference, regionals and outdoor NCAA’s are huge marks on my racing calendar. There is a FISU, or World University Games this year in Russia and I would love to make that team.