5 Things You Should Know About Me: Lindsey Scherf

June 07, 2012 at 4:45pm EST | by Barbara Huebner, NYRR News Service

When Lindsey Scherf was growing up in Scarsdale, Edgewood Elementary School held a “Mile Day,” and in fifth grade she beat everyone—girls and boys alike—while breaking the school record. She soon joined the Westchester Track Club, coached by Mike Barnow, and became a dominant national-level junior runner; while competing for Harvard, she broke the American junior record for 10,000 meters when she ran 32:51.20. The horizon was nothing but bright, until a tangled misunderstanding over her refusal to take a drug test in 2007 brought a protracted legal fight and a suspension that was reduced to one year when the Court of Arbitration in Sport ruled that Scherf bore no significant responsibility for the situation. (Details of the case are here.) Scherf was just starting to work her way back when her father was diagnosed with cancer; he died in July 2010. Running had been something they shared, and the grieving daughter quit running completely for a while. Now, Scherf is rejuvenated and back on the scene, breaking through as runner-up in the USA 25K Championship on May 12 and then winning the Ottawa 10K on May 26. Scherf, 25, is coming home to New York to run the NYRR New York Mini 10K on Saturday.

  1. I’ve been a member of the Westchester Track Club since I was 10 years old, and Mike Barnow is still my coach. After I had foot surgery in October he suggested I train down in North Carolina for the winter where there wouldn’t be any danger of slipping on ice. I’m living in Fayetteville, and I have no plans to leave.
  2. I kind of felt really lost after losing my father. I just didn’t have the motivation to run, and I was going to move on and do other things. I applied to the Air Force to be a fighter pilot and at the eleventh hour got medically disqualified because of exercise-induced asthma. I got into coaching for a while. I’ve always loved running, but between the legal fight and losing my dad I was definitely ready to give up on it at a few points. It was Coach Mike’s encouragement that got me going again.
  3. The race that really put it in my head that I can do something in distance running was the 25K. In that race I took the lead around mile 5 and led until mile 14, when Janet Cherobon-Bawcom pulled away from me to break Joan Benoit Samuelson’s American record. When I was able to really compete with her, it turned on the light bulb. My training ever since then has reached a new level of focus, and the race has really encouraged my thoughts on doing a marathon.
  4.  Winning in Ottawa was another huge step. I don’t think I had any idea how big a deal that race is. Geoffrey Mutai won the men’s race, and being able to share a headline with him was something else.
  5.  Despite graduating from Harvard and having a master’s degree, success in the classroom did not come naturally for me. When I was little, I struggled with the learning disability known as dyslexia and I had great difficulty learning to read. Because I couldn’t read like the other kids, I felt I was stupid. Stumbling across running at the age of 10 changed my world. Becoming a runner taught me that with the right combination of determination and persistence I could achieve success not only in sport but in whatever else I truly believed in and put my mind to.
Categories: Pro Athletes