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Marble Falls cross-country coach retiring

Marble Falls High School head cross-country and long-distance running coach Chris Schrader is retiring at the end of the 2023-24 school year. Courtesy photo

Marble Falls High School head cross-country and long-distance running coach Chris Schrader recently announced plans to retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year after six years leading the Mustangs.

The Australian-born coach said he wants to spend more time with his son and grandson abroad.

“I don’t get to see them much,” Schrader said. “We only get to see them once every two or three years.

“We’ve got a three-month trip planned to see them,” he added. “It’s exciting.”

Schrader hopes to leave behind a culture of grit and perseverance at Marble Falls.

“In this sport, there’s just no shortcuts,” he said about long-distance running. “You have to do everything. If you take shortcuts, you get shortcut results.”

Schrader pointed to 2020 graduate Bryer Atkinson as the embodiment of his coaching philosophy.  

“He made coaching easy and he improved buckets,” he said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic complicated Atkinson’s senior season.

“He opened up the year with two big (personal records), and then we got sidelined when they said no more racing and no more school,” Schrader said. “It was very difficult for the both of us.”

The coach said to watch out for rising senior Tyler Hamblin as the next runner to carry the program’s proverbial baton. 

“He’s going to have a strong year,” he said. “I can feel it, and he can, too.”

Schrader said he’ll miss watching his athletes mature into adults.

“I stay in contact with a lot of my runners,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s just a phone call. Other times, they come and visit the house. I get to see them in their grown-up versions and what they’ve done for themselves. I think that’s what gives me the best feeling.” 

Even in retirement, he plans to offer support to local runners whenever he can.

“They know I’m a resource,” Schrader said. “They can call on me.”

Schrader still has one more item on his to-do list before he officially leaves the Marble Falls program: finishing renovations to the high school’s cross-country course.

“I’ve got a few more things to make it perfect,” he said. “That way, the school can bid for a regional cross-country meet.”