The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

By Scott Swanson
Of The New Era 

New SH cross-country coach Kambria Schumacher brings experience as top triathlete


August 29, 2017

Kambria Schumacher holds a flyer announcing the formation of the Steller Triathlon Club, which will hold its inaugural meeting Friday at Steelhead Strength and Fitness.

When hundreds of competitors dive into Foster Lake Sept. 9 for the start of the Best in the West Sprint Triathlon, Kambria Schumacher won’t be leading them.

If history is any indicator, she likely would be if she were going to be there, since she’s won five straight sprint events at Best in the West – every year she’s competed and against fields that include some of the top triathletes in Oregon.

But this year she’ll be in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final on Sept. 16, after qualifying at the Olympic Nationals in Omaha, Neb. on Aug. 12.

This will be the second year Schumacher’s competed at the worlds Olympic-distance championships. She placed 14th last year in her age group in Cozumel, Mexico.

“The venue was absolutely gorgeous but the humidity took a little getting used to,” she said. “I stayed hydrated enough it didn’t bother me too bad.”

She’d committed to the worlds this year before she found out she was Sweet Home High School’s new cross-country coach, which means she’ll miss the Huskies’ race at the Silver Falls Oktoberfest Invitational on Sept. 13.

Schumacher will be on familiar ground at many of the races the Huskies will run this year, however. She’s run them herself, in a Sweet Home uniform.

Transferring from East Linn Christian Academy, she and her younger sister Cassandra ran for the Huskies beginning in 2005, promptly establishing themselves in the top-10 lists for cross-country and the distance events in track. Both went on to compete at the college level and Kambria, who graduated in 2006 after a high school career that included four straight trips to state in cross-country and two in track, improved significantly in making that jump.

She ran for Oregon State University for 2½ years, clocking a personal-best 18:40.77 in the 5K, nearly four minutes faster than her high school cross-country best at that distance. She also competed in the 1500 and the 3000 steeplechase, she said.

In 2011 she decided to give the triathlon a shot.

“I’d been running all the time and you kind of get burned out,” she said at the time.

She launched her triathlon career with a couple of sprint triathlons (750 meter swim, 12-mile bike, 5K run), starting with the Portland Triathlon, where she finished third overall in the women’s division and first in her age group, she won the women’s sprint event at the Best in the West Triathlon in 2011, running 19:23, the third-fastest 5K time in the entire field – men or women.

“After the first couple, I knew I had potential in the sport, since I placed really well in the first ones I did,” she said.

She’s established herself as one of the top female triathletes in the state, winning big regional events such as the Wildflower Triathlon in Central California, in 2013 (714 competitors).

More recently she’s been a private trainer for triathletes and now she’s in charge of Sweet Home’s cross-country program. She said the best advice she can give the young runners from her own experience is to … relax – and to find other ways of conditioning in addition to running.

“I think the biggest thing is not to overthink things,” Schumacher said. “Coming from a running background and going to triathlons, cross-training with other sports makes you a better athlete and helps keep you injury-free.”

She said her immediate goal is to get her runners, many of whom didn’t do much during the summer – which is a critical training time in the Sky-Em League – on the road.

“I will encourage them to run more,” Schumacher said. “When I was in high school I didn’t do any daily doubles. Just having them do that, we’ll get a little more mileage in them.”


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