Amy Cragg credits Jerry Schumacher for her surprising bronze in the women’s marathon – “Jerry has completely changed my running. He has changed my life.”

August 6, 2017

LONDON – After Amy Cragg today won America’s first women’s marathon medal at the IAAF World Championships in 34 years, we caught up with her to ask how she did it. Cragg gave huge props to her coach, Jerry Schumacher of Nike’s Bowerman Track Club, both for helping her today at the end of the race when she was battling Kenya’s Flomena Daniel for the bronze and in general for making her a totally different class of runner.

(Full women’s marathon recap: LRC Amy Cragg Ends America’s 34-Year Medal Drought In The Women’s Marathon At Worlds By Snagging A Surprising Bronze in London)

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With roughly a mile remaining in the race today, Cragg found herself in fourth place as Daniel had the upper hand with Cragg roughly 20 to 30 meters behind.

That’s when Schumacher yelled her encouragement, telling her if she could stay just be close with 800m to go she’d get the bronze.

As Cragg recounted, “Jerry with a mile to go said, ‘If you can close the gap just a little bit, you’re better than her the last 800 meters.’ That was the moment I decided, ‘This is the moment I’m going to remember.”

Facing the moment of truth, Cragg said, “I decided to go for it and he (Jerry) was right.”

Over the final 600m, Cragg was not only able to pass Daniel, but she started closing on Kiplagat. She almost got the silver, but was more than pleased with the bronze.

“It feels amazing. All the people who have medalled at the World Championships and Olympics, those are the people I’ve always really, really looked up to. I can’t believe it (that I’m one of them),” she said.

Cragg was a very good runner, having won the 2012 Olympic Trials 10,000m, before she started training with the Bowerman Track Club in late 2015. Now she’s world-class and she was quick to credit Schumacher.

“Jerry has completely changed my running. He has changed my life. I felt for years, I was just…. it just wasn’t that breakthrough I was hoping for. I knew I could be better, but it just wasn’t coming around. And so when I joined the group, I was like, ‘You know what I want to test the limits, I want to try higher mileage, I want to try harder workouts. I just wanted to hang onto Shalane (Flanagan) in every workout I possibly could.’ He’s completely changed everything. We work really, really hard. The Bowerman Track Club – we work hard and we’re really supportive of one another so it’s a great group to be around. It’s an easy place to work hard,” she said.

Cragg is most known for training with Shalane Flanagan at the Bowerman Track Club but she had to do a lot of the training for this buildup by herself or with her husband Alistair Cragg, as Flanagan wasn’t running Worlds.

The training went well and coming into Worlds Cragg, she knew she was in “better shape than I’ve ever been in by a lot.”

Unfortunately, Cragg she picked up a cold after arriving in the UK two weeks ago.

“My throat got sore. Honestly, it was up until yesterday I was still dripping snot. It was gross. This morning I woke up and I was like ‘ok I feel normal’. It was just in the nick of time,” she said.

One interesting side-note is coach Schumacher never discussed the cold with Cragg. He knew she had it from her husband, Alistair, but he decided the best course of action was to ignore it. So while he mentioned the cold to the crew in a chance shared cab ride to the marathon course from the track, he never discussed it with Cragg. He said there was nothing he could do about it, so he decided to ignore it. Fortunately for America and Cragg, it cleared up in time.

More: LRC Amy Cragg Ends America’s 34-Year Medal Drought In The Women’s Marathon At Worlds By Snagging A Surprising Bronze in London

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