Sarah Crouch made her return to the marathon distance in a big way this past weekend at the Chicago Marathon where she shaved 12 minutes off her previous personal best from the New York City Marathon in 2011. Sarah has been back training with ZAP Fitness-
Reebok and head coach Pete Rea since the spring, and coming into the race had demonstrated great fitness with her 1:12:10 half marathon personal best in the summer. Through the early parts of the race Sarah was content to run her pace and let the lead women run ahead of her. Throughout the first half of the race she methodically ratcheted down the pace, passing the half way marker in 1:15:41 giving the all-good thumbs up to Coach Rea. She covered the next 5k under 5:40 pace, and had moved herself into the top 10. The quick pace mid way caught up to her late in the race, but despite that she was still able to finish strong and pass a number of athletes on her way to the finish. Sarah broke the tape in a massive personal best time of 2:32:44 as the 7th finisher overall and 3rd among Americans. “I fell in love with the marathon today,” she exuded, “I think that’s my future. I’m already talking to [Pete], what can I run in the spring, I’m going after that 2:30.”
In their Chicago Marathon recap Letsrun.com declared “with her run today, Sarah goes from being an unknown to one of the U.S. women hoping to get under the 2:30 barrier and in the talk for an Olympic team birth.” That will be a focus for Sarah heading toward the 2016 Olympic Trials. She had already qualified based on her half marathon personal best in June, but her mark of 2:32:44 makes her one of the top 10 performers in the US this year and makes her a legitimate contender for breaking 2:30 and warranting that type of Olympic Team berth talk.
Sarah’s run capped a very exciting 7 days at ZAP with Tyler Pennel winning his marathon debut and first US National Title the weekend before at the Twin Cities Marathon.