PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A Utah native who's now living in Tucson is making a name for herself in the running community.
This comes after she surprises not just the world, but herself, with a second place finish at the recent Boston Marathon, only the second marathon she has ever competed in!
"I started running in middle school," said Sarah Sellers. "My parents would run in the morning on the trail. We had trails in our backyard."
Sarah, 26, became a standout in the running community overnight. She grew up running with her family, and she ran in high school and in college at Weber State. Never in a million years, however, did she envision accomplishing what she has accomplished.
"If you would have had people make bets on who would be second, like, no one in the country, including me, would have said I would be second place," said Sarah.
It was on April 16 that Sarah placed second at the Boston Marathon, with a finish time of 2 hours, 44 minutes, and 4 seconds. She was just minutes behind the first place winner, Desiree Linden, who was the first American woman to win since 1985.
"My PR (Personal Record), going in to Boston, was 2:44," said Sarah. "There's 20 women that have run sub-2:30 that were in that field. I think there were seven women that have run sub-2:23, and those are world class times. I hadn't run anywhere close to that."
The cold wind and rain on race day made it tough for all of the athletes, but Sarah was conditioned.
"During the race, I was never worried about finishing," said Sarah. "Coming from training in Utah, I'm pretty used to running in sleet and nasty weather."
The moment Sarah crossed the finish line, she didn't even know what place she was in.
"Still just disbelief," said Sarah. "I asked an official. That was the first thing I wanted to know when I finished, because I knew I had passed some big names in the race and I knew I was doing better than expected place wise, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. So, as soon as I crossed the finish line, I asked the officials what place I was in, and they said 2nd and they had to keep repeating it because I was, like, there's no way I'm actually in 2nd place."
The only race for Sarah before the Boston Marathon was a win at the Huntsville Marathon in Utah. That race was what qualified Sarah for the Boston Marathon.
In October, Sarah kicked up her training. She lives in Tucson with her husband Blake. Both work for Banner Health, with Sarah working as a nurse anesthetist, and Blake in his residency.
"Since the race, I've tried to step up my game a little bit," said Blake. "She doesn't have to clean as much around the house. She's never had to clean if she didn't want to, but now, I try and take on that role as much as I can, so she can focus as much as she can on her running."
Working a full time job made training tough for Sarah, but she made it work. At her peak, she was running 100 miles a week.
"Waking up every single day at four in the morning to go run before work, and then doing a long day at work then running afterwards," said Blake. "To see her do that consistently for multiple months was motivating to me."
Sarah's focus now is the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. This second place win at the Boston Marathon qualified her for the trials.
"I realize that to even do well at the trials, I need to get a lot faster, there's a lot of work to be done, but I think Boston showed me that I have potential," said Sarah, who also hopes to inspire others, and show them even with a full time job, you can set and accomplish goals.
Aside from winning a $75,000 cash prize for being runner-up, Sarah also just signed on with Altra Running.