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Talented runner dreams of Olympics

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For track runner and Olympic hopeful Kyrah Scraders, next week marks the start of an eight-month training regimen aimed at 2012 Carifta games in Bermuda.“Maybe the 2016 Olympics,” she said. “I wanted it since I was ten.”

A star runner with the Bermuda Pacers Track Club, Kyrah specialises in the 1,500 metres. She represented Bermuda earlier this year at Carifta, and came first in the middle school girls’ category at the Front Street Mile for the second year in a row.

Now 14 years old and an S1 student at the Berkeley Institute, Kyrah owes her start, in a roundabout way, to dance.

“I tried to get her into ballet and she just didn’t like it,” said mother Sherika Scraders, who originally thought Kyrah’s older sister Shondreka might have had a flair for running.

But once Kyrah tried out for running at age seven, Ms Scraders said, “I knew she’d found something. I got her started with Cal Simons at the Pacers, and Kyrah just flourished from there.”

Now coached by Jarita Vickers, Kyrah is on the cusp of more intensive training to qualify for Carifta. In the under-17 category, the test is consistently running the 1,500 metres in five minutes.

Beyond Carifta, however, Kyrah’s dream is set on the Olympics.

She wants to qualify professionally for the 1,500 metres her favourite category.

“I just like to run the long races,” explained Kyrah, describing her method as “start off fast and then slow it down a little”.

Running is all about pacing, she said: “I just keep my pace and stick with it.”

In three days’ time, she starts training with the Pacers in the Arboretum in Devonshire, the track at National Stadium, and running on Horseshoe Beach. Her technique has to adapt for different surfaces: hard terrain means running on your toes, not your heels. Beach sand makes for a tougher run.

Kyrah’s first breakthrough came at age nine: “I broke the record for my age at the KPMG race,” she said.

The Front Street Mile, which is the longest distance she enjoys, was her next claim to fame in 2010, and this year as well.

Asked if she plans to come first in her category for a third year, Kyrah laughed: “Oh, yes,” she said.

At the last Carifta, held in Jamaica, with her mother watching from the stands Kyrah took a respectable third place in the 1,500 metres, fifth in the 800m and fifth again in the relays.

“It was amazing,” Ms Scraders said. “Being up there and seeing those children representing Bermuda was incredible, and it’s going to be even better to have the games here.”

Bermuda’s last Carifta in 2004, when 17-year-old Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set a new world record in the 200 metres, has become the stuff of legend for the Scraders.

In the meantime, Kyrah must knuckle down to healthy eating and constant training, if she wants to set a new personal best of her own.

Her advice: “Stick to whatever you’re doing and just keep on doing it.”

l Useful website: www.carifta2012.com.

Kyrah Scraders competing in the 800m at the Carifta Games.
YA Kyrah Scraders Berkeley student and track runner talking about her training aspirations( Photo by Glenn Tucker )
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Published September 10, 2011 at 8:27 am (Updated September 10, 2011 at 8:27 am)

Talented runner dreams of Olympics

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