It’s not every day that a 15-year American record gets broken, which is why what Keira D’Amato did on Jan. 16 is so incredible. With a time of 2:19:12, D’Amato broke the American women’s marathon record at the Houston Marathon on Saturday, a record that had held up since Deena Kastor set it in 2006. It’s an incredible accomplishment for an athlete who initially quit distance running after college, became a real estate agent, and had two children before breaking the record.
“If you would have told me I’d be here now, I wouldn’t have believed you,” D’Amato, 37, said on Today this morning, reflecting on the seven years she took off from the sport. Still, the record wasn’t a total surprise; in December, D’Amato told Women’s Running that she was in shape to run a sub-2:22 marathon and that the American record was on her mind. “If I’m around 2:20 shape, we’ll definitely go for it. If I’m close enough I’ll go for it and see what happens.”
With 2:19 flashing on the clock at the finish line, running fans knew exactly what they were witnessing in Houston on Saturday. The cheers pushed her across the line, 24 seconds below the record, and D’Amato hugged her children and then (understandably) collapsed to the ground. “I keep checking it to make sure that that’s what I ran,” D’Amato told TV reporters afterward. “I just can’t believe it . . . I just feel like dreams come true, you know?”
And in a truly impressive turn of events, D’Amato wasn’t even the first to break a record on Saturday. In the same race, Sarah Hall broke the American half-marathon record for women just over an hour before D’Amato followed her across the finish line.
After setting the American Record in the Marathon, the thing I am most excited about is some girl/woman saw it and thought, ‘I can do that.’ I know they will… and I’ll be rooting for them.
— Keira D’Amato (@KeiraDAmato) January 17, 2022
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