Sarah Sellers is a 26-year-old full-time nurse anesthetist from Arizona who, until the April 16 Boston Marathon, was virtually unknown to the running world. On that day, she came in second, ahead of many more-qualified athletes.
Sellers surprise time was a shock in the running world, as she beat many people that she herself thought of as idols and not peers. She was not even considered an elite runner before this race, yet she finished the course behind winner Desiree Linden, who was the first woman to win the event since 1985.
To qualify for the event, she won the Huntsville Marathon in Utah back in September with a time of two hours, 44 minutes, and 27 seconds, which put her in the elite group.
She finished the course in freezing rain and lashing winds, which many consider a wild-card advantage for her, as it demotivated the other runners and made the conditions a little harsher for them.
Sellers finished the Boston Marathon in two hours, 44 minutes, and four seconds, which is remarkable considering this was the first big marathon she had ever competed in. In fact, she only ran the Boston Marathon because her younger brother, 25-year-old Ryan Callister, was running it, too.
Although it sounds like she was an inexperienced rookie, Sellers actually ran for Weber State in college and was a high-ranking runner for their team. She was named Weber State’s female athlete of the year in 2012 along with male counterpart and current NBA All-Star Damian Lillard.
An injury forced her to stop her running career then, but she remained in shape and was well enough to train for Boston.
Since she had a full-time job, training was tough for her. She had to train either at 4 a.m. before her shifts or after them at 7 p.m.
Sophomore Ryan Steele says, “To work for 10 hours a day with a demanding job like hers and still find time to train is impressive. Not too many people have the body and mental strength to handle that.”
Sellers admitted she thought the unorthodox training helped her as she was used to poor conditions while running, so the weather conditions were not as big an impact on her as they were to other competitors.
Sellers was such an underdog in this event that she was not even considered in the elite class of runners, even though she had qualified for that group. When the best 20 women, known as the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team, got to ride in a bus to the starting line, she was not on it. She was instead on a bus with the next best 36 women. She had to pay for her trip and all her expenses as well.
Sellers plans to continue her full-time nursing gig and hopes to run in more marathons in the future, and maybe even the Olympics.
Sophomore Akshay Shah says, “I think she will do well in the future. More people know her and if she continues to train, she can probably become and Olympic runner. She is still pretty young and has years of training ahead of her.”
Given her impressive qualifying time and running background, why do you think no one believed or even knew Sarah Sellers?