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It seems like only yesterday that the running community was Googling Sarah Sellers’ name to find out who had just won second place at The Boston Marathon. Nowadays, however, her status has been elevated from a “virtually-unknown” runner to an Altra-sponsored athlete.
“Feeling mixed emotions right now. All kinds of excitement because this week I joined ALTRA!!!” Sellers tweeted on May 18. “Could not be more stoked to start this next chapter of running with #zerolimits!! But also pain and sadness because I scraped my leg running into a bush on my morning run today.”
But Boston wasn’t always on her list of marathons to run, in fact, she wasn’t even considering it until her brother (who was competing in it) urged her to join him. Luckily, eight months earlier, Sellers had finished the Huntsville Marathon in 2:44:27 to qualify her for the iconic 26.2-mile race. Still, prior to Marathon Monday, she’d hadn’t done as much prep for the race as she had in Utah.
“I hadn’t done any marathon-specific training [for Boston], I had just been doing distance runs,” shared Sellers. “For Hunstville, I was probably doing 50-ish miles a week. For this, I did a couple weeks of 100 miles.”
In college, Sellers had run in all types of weather as a Weber State University long-distance runner. She thanks her previous cold-weather runs for having taught her how to endure in any condition. “We do a lot of distance runs on sleet so I knew that the weather would slow me down, but I wasn’t ever worried about it affecting my finish,” said Sellers. “[It’d] been a while since I’ve run in those conditions but it wasn’t anything unexpected or anything I hadn’t dealt with in the past.”
— Weber State Track (@WeberStateTrack) April 16, 2018
Following Desi Linden’s historic win that Marathon Monday, Sellers’ finish in 2:44.04 became just as notable—even she couldn’t believe what she had accomplished. “This doesn’t happen in Sarah Sellers’ life. This isn’t a thing that happens. Just kind of a surreal moment,” shared Sellers. “I knew I was racing because I was cold and I was hurting, but at the same time I was like…this wasn’t a remote possibility in my head. If I had set unrealistic goals, that wouldn’t have been an unrealistic goal that I would set because I would have said that, ‘That’s not a thing that happens.’”
In the days after her podium finish, finding information on Sellers proved harder than normal. The 26-year-old didn’t seem to have an active presence on social media—which is pretty rare in 2018. What we did find out was that the nurse anesthetist had only completed one other marathon in her life. Her training consisted of early morning sessions (sometimes at 4 a.m.) and after work at 7 p.m.
But with her newfound fame in the running world, Sellers was in demand. She quickly began receiving praise across the nation and caught the attention of other elites, some even inviting her to join the social world. “Don’t really know how to work this Twitter thing. But when @Karagoucher calls you out for not being on Twitter…you join Twitter,” said Sellers in her first-ever tweet.
As an Altra-sponsored athlete, we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next for the new elite. If you’re in New York on June 9, you can watch all three Boston Marathon podium finishers compete in the NYRR New York Mini 10K. Otherwise, if you need some inspiration about achieving the impossible, Sellers has a few words for runners.
“I think it still comes down to setting achievable goals and [being] happy with your current success,” said Sellers. “Set goals but then be happy with what you do. Sometimes when you set really high goals and you do something great, but it’s not quite what your goal was, you feel like of disappointed and don’t enjoy your success.”
*Editor’s Note: The article originally stated that Sellers is an anesthesiologist. It has been corrected to state that she is a nurse anesthetist.