It's a lot of fun for me as a camp director to meet kids when they are young and then get to know them better as adults. In the case of Ryan and Sara Hall, I had the chance to introduce them years ago at a cross country meet in 2001. Ryan and I were chatting post-race and we saw Sara. He mentioned he might like to meet her and I said, "Then let's go meet her!" Ryan wasn't as certain as I was, "Maybe later."
Me: "It'll be fine, just follow my lead" (little did I know that "lead" would end up in marriage for Ryan and Sara the fall after they graduated from college in 2005).
Later that year, Ryan finished third at Footlocker Nationals and Sara won, establishing themselves as two of America's rising distance stars. That spring Ryan ran a solo 4:02 1600m to win the California state meet and Sara won the 3200m, ending her season as the #1 ranked female high schooler at that distance. Both went to Stanford on full rides and became integral parts of a powerhouse program, Ryan helping lead the men's team with his 2nd overall placing to the 2003 NCAA Division I men's team title while Sara finished 3rd in the women's race to lead the Stanford women to the 2003 NCAA Division I women's title.
In the years after college, both Ryan and Sara moved to the marathon, with Ryan ending his career with a sterling 2:04:58 PR set in Boston and Sara, currently still running, setting her personal best of 2:28 earlier this year in Tokyo.
I had a few minutes to chat with Sara last week for this podcast. Enjoy!