Super Runners Among Us: Doris Schertz

Posted on April 27, 2016

When you hear B.R. Ryall YMCA member Doris Schertz’s story, it is a good reminder of what amazing, accomplished individuals we are privileged to have among us. Doris is a long-time member, having joined our Y when the new building opened in 1966. Her six children learned to swim at the Y, and eventually three progressed onto the swim team and two worked as lifeguards.

Married to an athlete, Doris says she was anything but… until she surprised herself by becoming a runner when she was almost 50 years old. Concerned about being at risk of osteoporosis, she decided she needed to exercise to strengthen her bones. She starting attending classes at the Y and running, mostly 5Ks. Then one Christmas her husband gave her an unexpected gift, which she now says is probably the best present she ever received, a membership to CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association). “He believed in me more than I believed in myself,” shares Doris.

Doris soon found herself committed and preparing for her first marathon. In 2005 at the age of 66, she not only ran the Chicago Marathon, she won her age group—finishing in 4 hours and 16 minutes. She ran it again the next two years, before her friends convinced her to go to Boston.

Doris remembers her first time running the Boston Marathon, in 2008, was rough. After recovering from the flu the previous week, she was just happy to finish. The next year she ran Chicago again, and then in 2010 returned to Boston. This time, at 71 years old, she finished in 4:25 and won her age group. And then she went back in 2011 and won it again!

Though Doris hasn’t run a marathon since 2011, she runs regularly—at least six miles, three times a week. And this year, she plans to make a return and complete the Chicago Marathon. But first, she looks forward to running THE Y RUN 5K on May 21 to support the Y—her beloved “home away from home.”