ATLANTA — Sara Hall broke away at the end to win the AJC Peachtree Road Race women's race on Sunday and reverse what she called one of the great disappointments of her career, which also came in Atlanta.
Last year Hall was a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team for the marathon, after posting the second-best qualifying time for the team trials that were being held in Atlanta.
And she was with the lead pack during the marathon trial itself, only to drop out after 22 miles. Taking a second shot at the Olympics by going for the 10,000-meter trials in Oregon last weekend, she also narrowly missed a ticket to Tokyo in finishing sixth.
But Sunday was her day in Atlanta.
The 38-year-old mother of four adopted children from Ethiopia won with an unofficial time of 31:40, ahead of Emily Durgin by nine seconds.
She told 11Alive's Jerry Carnes after her victory that she "wasn't quite feeling myself" after the emotional and physical drain of the Olympic trials in Oregon, but that she was "thankful to pull off the win today."
"It's a race I've always run well and enjoyed. The Olympic trials here in Atlanta were tough for me, and I wanted to make good memories in Atlanta today," she said.
Hall said that winning the Peachtree - showing that you can pick yourself up and dust yourself off and persevere - was incredibly gratifying.
"There's so many qualities I want to instill in them through my running, like hard work and perseverance and picking myself up after the Olympic trials here, which were the biggest disappointment of my career, and then having the best races of my career after that, after the pandemic, so you just get to show them so many things by inviting them into the process," she said. "So that's been rewarding."
In her training following last year's disappointment, Hall reached some of the best form of her career, winning a silver medal at the London Marathon and then running the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman at The Marathon Project in Arizona.
Now, she's a Peachtree champion.