U.S. Road Digest — Women Stand Out

Sara Hall came within 30 seconds of becoming only the second American woman under the marathon’s 2:20 barrier. (KEVIN MORRIS)

KEIRA D’AMATO has been one of the big U.S. surprises of 2020. After 10 years away from the sport, two kids and a career as a realtor, at 36 she has become one of the country’s top distance runners. In her latest exploits she scored an AR for 10M and then staged a marathon breakthrough.

10M American Record For D’Amato

Washington, D.C., November 24—Against a field that could be counted on one hand at a mini-event called the Up Dawg Women’s 10M, Keira D’Amato chugged to an American Record for a women-only race, her 51:23 taking down the 52:12 that Janet Bawcom set in ’14. (Molly Huddle holds the mixed-race record of 50:52 from ’18.)

She handily topped OT Marathon runner-up Molly Seidel (53:36), despite a dizzy spell with a half mile left. “You just kind of calm yourself,” she said. “Like, ‘OK, I’m running 10M as fast as I can, this isn’t going to be easy.’ But when I could see the finish line, I just sprinted as fast as my legs could take me.”

Up Dawg Results

10M: 1. Keira D’Amato (unat) 51:23 women-only AR (old w-o AR—52:12 Janet Bawcom ’14) (inferior to mixed-race AR 50:52 Molly Huddle ’18) (5:12, 5:01 [10:13], 5:13 [15:26], 5:16 [20:42], 5:06 [25:48], 5:06 [30:54], 5:08 [36:02], 5:04 [41:06], 5:08 [46:14], 5:09);

2. Molly Seidel (Sauc) 53:36 PR; 3. Emily Durgin (UArm) 54:03 PR; 4. Susanna Sullivan (CAR) 54:22 PR;… dnf—Bethany Sachtleben (unat).

Hall Runs No. 2 U.S. Marathon Ever

Chandler, Arizona, December 20—Sarah Hall produced the fastest marathon of her life (and the No. 2 race in U.S. history) to win The Marathon Project, a bold experiment in a year like no other.

Hall—who in London 10 weeks earlier ran her old best of 2:22:01—crushed a 2:20:32 in an attempt to break Deena Drossin’s ’06 American Record of 2:19:36. Hall, guided by elite pacemakers, had been on pace for the first half (1:09:38) before losing ground.

“It was a tough race,” said the 37-year-old Californian. “I was hoping to run a little faster than that, but it’s a good PR and No. 2 all time in the U.S. I should be happy with that. The competitor in me is a little bit like, ‘Aw.’ I wanted to run faster, but maybe next time.”

Kellyn Taylor passed halfway with Hall but slipped back and was caught by Keira D’Amato near 22M. D’Amato took a massive 11-plus minutes off her best with a 2:22:56 to become No. 8 in U.S. history. Taylor finished next at 2:25:22, ahead of Emma Bates (2:25:40). The next 19 finishers set PRs, with a total of 12 women under 2:30.

This perfect storm of marathoning took place on a stretch of road with turnarounds at each end to form a perfectly flat 4.26M loop. Zero wind and temps in the high 30s/low 40s (3-6° C) helped, as did, most assuredly, new shoe technology.

The Marathon Project Women’s Results

1. Sara Hall (Asics) 2:20:32 PR (AL) (2, 2 A) (1:09:38/1:10:54); 2. Keira D’Amato (unat) 2:22:56 PR (7, 11 A);

3. Kellyn Taylor (HokaNAZ) 2:25:22; 4. Emma Bates (AsicsIdDP) 2:25:40; 5. Natasha Wodak’ (Can) 2:26:19 PR; 6. Andrea Ramírez’ (Mex) 2:26:34 PR; 7. Paige Stoner (ReebB) 2:28:43 PR; 8. Ursula Sanchez’ (Mex) 2:29:11 PR; 9. Sarah Inglis’ (GB) 2:29:41 PR; 10. Bria Wetsch (BouU) 2:29:50 PR;

11. Julia Kohnen (HokaNAZ) 2:29:58 PR; 12. Samantha Roecker (SchuyA) 2:29:59 PR; 13. Dakotah Bullen (MnDE) 2:30:38 PR; 14. Alia Gray (RootsRP) 2:30:41 PR; 15. Cristina McKnight (RootsRP) 2:31:23 PR; 16. Brenda Flores’ (Mex) 2:32:18 PR; 17. Alexis Zeis (RootsRP) 2:32:40 PR; 18. Beverly Ramos’ (PR) 2:33:09 NR; 19. Whitney Macon (Tracksm) 2:33:21 PR; 20. Susanna Sullivan (unat) 2:33:27 PR.

Marathon Project Men: 7 Sub-2:10 Americans

Depth-wise, the men’s race through the Gila River Indian Community came off as even more spectacular than the women’s, with Syracuse alum Martin Hehir—who balanced his training with working in a COVID ICU as a med school student—becoming No. 7 American all-time at 2:08:59. He led 6 others under 2:10, with 2nd going to Noah Droddy (2:09:09—No. 9 all-time U.S.), followed by another former Syracuse runner, Colin Bennie (2:09:38).

Scott Fauble (2:09:42), Ian Butler (2:09:45), Scott Smith (2:09:46) and Mick Iacofano (2:09:55) also broke the 2:10 barrier. Of the 40 men’s finishers, 29 set lifetime bests.
It was the deepest marathon in U.S. history. The old standard—4 Americans under 2:10 in the same race—happened at the ’12 Olympic Trials.

Hehir, 28, gradually moved up through the tight pack, passing the half in 1:04:29. He did not take control until the final loop, and eventually put together a 10-second win over Droddy.

“It felt pretty smooth for most of the race,” said Hehir, who had finished 6th in this year’s Trials race. “The pacing was amazing. It was pretty easy to sit on Frank [Lara] and Mason [Ferlic] and let them do all the work. I started to fall apart in the last couple of miles there, but I was able to hold it together.”

The Marathon Project Men’s Results

1. Martin Hehir (ReebB) 2:08:59 PR(AL) (7, x A); 2. Noah Droddy (RootsRP) 2:09:09 PR (9, x A);

3. Colin Bennie (ReebB) 2:09:38 PR; 4. Scott Fauble (HokaNAZ) 2:09:42 PR; 5. Ian Butler (BouH) 2:09:45 PR; 6. Scott Smith (HokaNAZ) 2:09:46 PR; 7. Mick Iacofano (IdDP) 2:09:55 PR; 8. Ben Preisner’ (Can) 2:10:17 PR; 9. Nathan Martin (GreatL) 2:11:05 PR; 10. CJ Albertson (Brk) 2:11:18 PR;

11. Emmanuel Roudolff’ (Fra) 2:11:20 PR; 12. Colin Mickow (SCTC) 2:11:22 PR; 13. Reid Buchanan (MamTC) 2:11:38 PR; 14. Kevin Lewis (unat) 2:12:02 PR; 15. Cam Levins’ (Can) 2:12:15; 16. Tyler Jermann (MnDE) 2:12:40 PR; 17. Rory Linkletter’ (Can) 2:12:54 PR; 18. Mike Sayenko (CNW) 2:13:34 PR; 19. Wilkerson Given (AtlTC) 2:13:40; 20. Brendan Gregg (HansB) 2:13:49; 21. Shadrack Biwott (HansB) 2:13:51. □