Stuart Schroeder’s goal for 2021 was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Of course, with most races cancelled, he had to adjust his goals, so for his birthday he chose to challenge himself to run a marathon on his own. Rather than go for a personal best time, Schroeder decided that the course for his marathon would be repetitions on the popular Walterdale Hill in the heart of the Edmonton River valley. While many runners in the area use the hill for repeats, no one had ever recorded a full marathon on it, so on the morning of his 60th birthday Schroeder set out to tackle 42.2 kilometres of hills.
One repetition of the hill works out to be 1.35 kilometres (with 50 metres of elevation gain), meaning that to complete the marathon distance, he needed to run the hill 32 times. He started his run at 5:55 a.m., and friends and family came out periodically throughout the morning to cheer him on from a safe, COVID-friendly distance. He successfully finished the marathon at 11:43 AM, covering a total of 43.27 km and 1,649 metres of elevation gain along the way, in 5 hours and 48 minutes.
Schroeder’s son, Brad Schroeder, described his father as inspiring, and says he has been a big part of the Edmonton running community for years.
“The way he consistently shows up day after day, week after week, to running groups such as November Project Edmonton and Need for Speed YEG (amongst others) has always inspired people to do the same.”
His impact was apparent during his birthday marathon, as cheers from spectators could be heard up and down the hill as he completed the gruelling run. While his dream of qualifying for Boston will have to wait, Schroeder will continue showing up, training hard and inspiring those around him.