Local runner Bernard to race in Boston Marathon

ESCANABA – More than 27,000 runners are expected to be on hand April 15 for the 117th Annual Boston Marathon.

Among them will be Kaylyn Bernard of Escanaba, who also will make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton, Mass. into downtown Boston.

Bernard, a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness, is entered in the second wave which is scheduled to take off at 10:20 a.m.

“I feel honored to represent Delta County and my sponsor (Anytime Fitness),” she said. “I will be surrounded by other elite runners whom I think will motivate and inspire me to do my best. I think it will be quite an adrenalin rush just getting the feel of what the pace and weather conditions are like and how I feel that day.”

Bernard qualified at Seattle in a personal-best three hours, 31 minutes, 55 seconds in October 2011. She also ran a qualifying time (3:34:30) last June in the Ojia/Ventura 02 Marathon in California.

She tuned up for her first trip to Beantown by covering the Distance Classic Half-Marathon in Arizona in 2:05 two weeks ago and completed the Fox Cities, Twin Cities and Tucson Marathons last fall.

Her half-marathon PR (personal record) is 1:14:49, which she ran in Grand Rapids last fall. Bernard, however, had since been hindered by an ankle injury.

“I was feeling very good that day,” said Bernard. “I got into a rhythm right away and everything came together. It was cool and rainy like it was in Seattle, and it was a very flat course.”

Bernard also did some training in Oregon last fall in preparation for Boston’s Heartbreak Hill, actually a series of hills which begins at Mile 16 and continues until Mile 21.

“When I was in Oregon, I ran on a lot of mountains which were very good preparation,” she said. “But this will be a different challenge. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Mental preparation is also key for Boston, which can offer any among a wide variety of weather conditions.

“I spoke to Denise DeHaan (of Escanaba),” said Bernard. “She ran Boston in 2010 when it was about 80 degrees and told me how to prepare in case it’s hot over there this year. I’m not going in completely blind.”

Besides marathons and area road races, Bernard has done other kinds of events.

She was the overall winner last August in the Jarubek Challenge four-mile run at Hobart, Wis. (near Green Bay), in which runners carry a 30-pound backpack and additional gear. She covered that course in 31:35.

Bernard was also runner-up in Upper Peninsula Strong Woman’s Competition in Crystal Falls earlier that month and AdvantEdge Strongman Competition in Marquette on March 2.

“That’s where I get a lot of my strength and stamina,” said Bernard, who has set a goal to complete at least one marathon in all 50 states. “Training for those events has also helped me quite a bit. This will be (state) No. 9, so I still have a way to go. But it’s coming along real good.”

Included in her cross training is yoga, which she does three times a week.

“I would recommend that all runners do that,” she added. “It helps your breathing and improves you stamina performance.”

Bernard and her mother Jayne Szukalowski of Escanaba will fly from Green Bay to Boston on Friday, three days prior to the race.

“She’s my biggest support when I’m running,” said Bernard. “I also appreciate the support I receive from my friends, family and members of Anytime Fitness.”

A few other area runners are also believed to be entered in this year’s Boston Marathon. That information, however, hasn’t been available.