In results few running experts saw coming Monday, Desiree Linden became the first American woman since 1985 to win the Boston Marathon, while Yuki Kawauchi, a school administrator from Japan, was the surprise winner on the men’s side. Yet unlikely as those finishes were, neither Linden nor Kawauchi can claim to have been the most surprising presence atop the race’s leaderboard.
That distinction belongs to second-place finisher Sarah Sellers, an amateur runner whose strong finish (in 2:44:04) sent even the most fanatical followers of distance running scrambling to Google… where there were no results. For a while, her entire backstory was a complete mystery. And when Sellers finally revealed who the hell she was, the answer was fairly jarring: She’s a 26-year-old former college runner who works full-time as a nurse at Banner Health Center in Tucson, Arizona and trains in the early mornings, before 10-hour shifts. She has no agent or sponsors whatsoever. And maybe most improbably of all, Monday was only her second ever marathon.
With all that in mind, Sellers seems to have been as surprised by her finish as everyone else. Via the Boston Globe:
She didn’t know that she placed second in the Boston Marathon, he said, until someone informed her after she crossed the finish line.
“Someone had to tell her, and she still didn’t believe them,” he said.
In an interview with the Globe, Sarah Sellers said the whole thing felt “surreal,” and that she at first didn’t think she actually came in second overall.
“I didn’t even know it was a possibility,” she told the Globe. “I was trying to ask officials what place I was in. I had no idea when I crossed the finish line.”
Sellers told the Globe she had hoped to win enough prize money to cover her trip to Boston and that he has no idea how she will spend the $75,000 she walked away with.
— Weber State Track (@WeberStateTrack) April 16, 2018
Sellers says she hopes to qualify for Olympic trials, and while her performance Monday certainly provides reason to believe she can do so, she’s got one hell of an achievement on her resume either way.