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Boston Marathon Runner-up Will Use Prize Money to Pay Off Her Student Loans

Sarah Sellers is a registered nurse anesthetist who just won $75,000.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Yesterday, Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985. Another American, Sarah Sellers, finished right behind her, marking the first one-two finish for US women since 1979. Linden is a two-time Olympian and fan favorite who is sponsored by Brooks, while Sellers, 26, is a virtual unknown who paid her own entry fee and is not sponsored. She finished in 2:44:04 and earned $75,000.


Sellers, who works full-time as a registered nurse anesthetist in Tucson, Arizona, hoped to make the top 15 in Boston. She told the Boston Globe that the best-case scenario would be to win enough money to cover the cost of the trip for her and her husband Blake, who's a resident orthopedic surgeon. But $75K? "I had no idea that was even a possibility,” she said.

When asked what she might do with the pile of cash, she said something that lots of people in their 20 and 30s would relate to: “My husband and I both just finished graduate school, so hopefully we’ll be able to put a dent in our student loans.”

While she wasn't listed in the race's elite field, Sellers was a talented collegiate runner at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she was a nine-time conference champion and earned a 4.0 GPA in nursing. Sellers won the 2017 Huntsville Marathon in Utah in 2:44:27, her first attempt at the distance, and runs about 100 miles a week, logging workouts either at 4am or 8pm.

She'll train for another marathon this fall and hopes to get the "A" standard of 2:37 for the 2020 Olympic marathon trials. She has no plans to scale back her work as a nurse, telling the Washington Post: “It’s really rewarding and gives me perspective on life.” She'll be back at work on Wednesday.

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