A much decorated varsity track and cross country athlete at McMaster University, Paula Schnurr won 28 OWIAA indoor and outdoor medals – 18 of them gold. She also set CIAU records at both 1000 metres and 1500 metres on the track.
In 1987, Schnurr captured the silver medal in the OWIAA Cross Country Championships.
She was a five-time CIAU All-Canadian, and was named as the top performer at the 1988 CIAU Track and Field Championships.
Schnurr, a native of Kirkland Lake, Ontario and a graduate of Burlington’s Assumption Catholic Secondary School, is a two-time Olympian. She competed in the 1,500-metre event at both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games. She reached the semi-finals of the ’92 Games, finishing eighth in what was a personal best time of 4:04.80. She won silver at that same distance at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, BC.
Schnurr won the Thérèse Quigley Award as the Marauders Female Athlete of the Year in each of the first four seasons of its existence between 1985 and 1988 and was inducted into the McMaster Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. She also was enshrined in the Athletics Ontario Hall of Fame in 2015.
The former Halton Catholic District School Board teacher, has coached cross-country and track at McMaster for 16 years and has been Head Coach the last eight years. She has had five different stints as a Mac coach, alongside husband Peter Self. Since returning to the University as a fulltime coach in 2010, Schnurr has guided the Marauders to 30 medals at OUA and USports (CIS) Championships.
The 2018-19 campaign was McMaster’s best year in cross country, winning the OUA men’s team title and the individual crown (Max Turek). The team went on to capture the bronze medal nationally. The school had not medaled in the event for for 54 years.
After winning the OUA men’s championship Schnurr became the first female Coach of the Year for men’s cross country in Ontario university history.