From the left, Nicole Dimercurio, Rachel Hyland and Sarah Sellers approach the 24-mile mark of the Boston Marathon in 201
Many of those who persecuted the Boston Marathon – even those who who follow the running sport – had the same question Monday: Who in the world is Sarah Sellers?
Sellers crossed the finish in second place at the prestigious 26.2-mile race, in rain-soaked conditions, virtually unknown. For sellers, there were few online race results, and she was not among the elite subjects for Boston. In wet and windy conditions, Sellers wore an inconspicuous outfit with no visible sponsors and crossed the finish line by simply clicking on her watch's timer.
Her time of 2 hours 44 minutes 4 seconds brought her second among the seven American women who came in the top 10. Desiree Linden was the first American to win the race since 1985, a historic end to a race full of surprises. But Sellers' goal was perhaps the least likely.
"I mean, I still can not believe I finished second," Sellers, 26, said in a telephone interview on Monday afternoon. "I will wake up and that will be a dream."
Sellers (b. Callister) never planned a podium in Boston. Not when she was an outstanding runner at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she grew up. Not even when she qualified for Boston after winning the Huntsville Marathon last September in Utah in 2:44:27.
She signed up only for Boston because her younger brother, 24-year-old Ryan Callister, led him. (Ryan finished in 2:48:20.) She is also an anesthesiologist who works full-time in Tucson. She has neither an agent nor any sponsors, and she has to get into her training either at 4 o'clock before work or at 7 o'clock. after her 10-hour shifts in the Banner Health Center
In recent months, Sellers trained mainly on her own, six days a week and 100 miles.
Sellers may have been "one of the most coveted ready runners in the state of Utah," as her college bio says, but she was essentially an anonymous runner who competes against the biggest names in sports on Monday.
She still sees the professional runners she beat as idols, not likes – "not just the American women, but also the international field," she said.
"Obviously, the conditions were the wildcard everyone got, but I think it played to my advantage," Sellers said. "If I look at my time racing, I should not be on the same page as the women of the top 20 women … they are in a different league than me."
But for a day Sellers say she was one of the best.
Her coach, Paul Pilkington of Weber, told her that she was conservative and for the majority of the race, seller remained behind. When fourth-placed Rachel Hyland moved around mile 20, Sellers followed.
When others began to fade, Sellers said she felt strong on the final stretch. She ran her second 13.1 miles faster than her first.
"I think the biggest thing is their mental harshness," said Pilkington. "She's a little taller, so you'd think the wind would be damaging, but she's really strong."
Sellers wants to qualify for the "A" standard for the 2020 Olympic marathon (2:37) and said her Boston performance continues to give her confidence. She has no plans to restrict her nursing profession – "It's really rewarding and gives me a perspective on life," she says – and intends to run a marathon this fall.
To celebrate, she said that she will be engaging in some leisurely activities she did not have the time off of Boston, such as mountain biking and running on trails. On Wednesday, she returns to the health center to provide nursing work and live the same life as before. Except now, fewer people have to ask who they are.
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