Before Bonnie Scholz
started taking Gu’s as fuel for running, there were Goo Goo Clusters and Yoo-hoo drinks.
“I lived in the country around family and we were always doing something, whether it was chase, baseball or gymnastics,” she explained. “I started running to the store a mile away around age 10. I would buy a Goo Goo Cluster and drink a Yoo-hoo then run back home.”
Throw in summer long bouts of running through the woods and the fields to get to her cousin’s house and it’s easy to see where Bonnie seeds of running were planted.
|Bonnie's current love of trail running - here on the trails in Tyler this January - was disguised early in her youthful play.|
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
And it was a mechanical beast that almost destroyed it.
Scholz was in preparation for her first marathon, the 2002 Compaq Houston Marathon, when she got tired of following a training plan, quit running and made a unique training decision.
“I started doing the stairmaster for 30 minutes a day and thought I would be fine,” she laughed.
Six hours and forty seconds of “fine” kept her from trying another one for 13 years.
“It was awful,” she said. “I couldn’t walk for two days.”
But when she came back to the distance, the improvements came and her original love for running was restored as she reconnected with nature:
5:14:08 - The Woodlands Marathon, The Woodlands, 2/28/15
4:16:42 - The Woodlands Marathon, The Woodlands, 3/5/16
5:27:42 - Brazos Bend 50K, Needville, 4/16/16
4:13:11 - Huntsville Utah Marathon, Huntsville, 9/17/16
6:15:21 - Palo Duro Canyon 50K, Amarillo, 10/15/16
4:11:19 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon, San Antonio, 12/4/16
3:33:21 - The Woodlands Marathon, The Woodlands, 3/4/17*
4:35:49 - Brazos Bend 50K, Needville, 4/8/17
Scholz is quick to point out that the 50K distance is her favorite.
“Usually on the trails with a small group of people and low pressure feel to races,” she said. “It just makes me so happy with dirt under my shoes near trees and it feels like everyone else in the races love it too.”
Volte founder Bill Dwyer
sees the same in her.
“Bonnie is a pure runner,” he explained. “Give her a wooded trail and she's happy. No need for a watch and any time expectations: just run, enjoy, and be thankful to have the ability.”
And ability she has.
Although Dwyer himself added fuel to her fire.
“I joined Volte in early 2017 and Bill said, ‘You may be able to make Boston next year but probably not this year’. The challenge was set,” she gushed.
Thanks to a couple of cyclist going straight instead of right early in the 2017 The Woodlands Marathon, Scholz’s road to Boston was lengthened a bit after posting a time of 3:33:21, but for 25.4 miles.
“I was really happy, of course,” she said. “But Todd (Hunter) had let me know the course was short at mile three so we kind of knew it was too good to be true.”
Truth shined bright at the Tunnel Light Marathon in late September when she was one of eight Volte Endurance athletes who qualified for the Boston Marathon with a performance of 3:39:38.
“It felt more like relief when I made it,” she said.
But Dwyer recognized and credited the sacrifice that was necessary for Bonnie to produce the effort.
“For Bonnie to put in the 17 weeks to prepare for Tunnel Light was big for her as she's such a free spirit,” he said.
|Bonnie's "free spirit" is shared in her enthusiasm for the sport(s) and the friends who join her on her journey.|
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dywer)
And that preparation has been part of the journey to Beantown for Scholz.
“Bill's training plan: I've never ran so much and in so much pain in my life. Track and tempo were not part of my vocabulary before Bill,” Scholz said.
Bonnie’s goals for Boston seem to be in alignment with the free spirit that Dwyer points to.
She says there are two: to still love running and not be last.
She credits her family, employer and the entire running community to keep her motivated and alive.
“My husband and kids are understanding of my running addiction and my bosses who encourage me to run during the weekday,” she said. “And every single runner I see on the side of the road or in races or on Facebook or Strava reminds me how much I love to run.”
And then there’s her Volte family.
|Pictured with Mayra Caamano (left) and Mary Carter (center), Bonnie was presented with the watch Camille Herron wore winning the 2017 Comrades Marathon along with her shoes that were won in an auction by Mary.|
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“There was so much love and energy to chase the Boston goal,” she said. “It was a pleasure to be part of this group and be qualified at the same time in the same race with many of them and getting to know the group with hours of running together with Mayra Caamano
, Sandra Tezino
, Laura Godfrey
, Larry Batton
, Todd Hunter
and Juan Flores
And Dwyer’s glad to know that her running always returns to the roots, literally.
“Once she qualified (her qualification is actually good for this year and next if she chooses to go back) she was back to running her trail runs including a 33-miler January 27th in Tyler and a 50-miler on February 24 in Page, AZ,” he noted. “While Boston is a really big deal and a wonderful experience to become part of the history of one of the greatest events in the world, trails are my personal first love and I'm excited that shortly after Boston Bonnie will be part of the team rolling out our trail group.”
Scholz hopes “to keep expanding into trails and other adventurous challenges” as she says that adding some elements of stress – mountains, mud, water and/or rain – makes her feel her strongest.
It would be a worthy bet in Vegas – if they’d take it – that more good results – and great experiences – are in store for Scholz and others who follow in the days ahead.