Keira D’Amato, a 37-year-old who quit running competitively soon after college, then returned eight years later as a mother of two, broke the American record in the women’s marathon on Sunday.
D’Amato won the Houston Marathon in 2:19:12, taking 24 seconds off Deena Kastor‘s record from the 2006 London Marathon.
“Part of me just can’t believe this is happening,” D’Amato said on ABC’s Houston affiliate, minutes after embracing children Tommy and Quin. “The other part is like, this is happening because you worked your tail off, Keira.
“Dreams come true, you know?”
Tommy, a 7-year-old who rooted his mom on with a sign stating, “Your 1# in my heart,” then joined the live TV interview.
“It’s kind of like mom’s famous,” he said, “and it’s cool to have a famous mother or father.”
Quin’s sign read, “GO MOMMY GO, GO MOMMY GO, GO MOMMY GO.”
D’Amato competed collegiately for American University, then gave up middle-distance running in 2009.
She worked in real estate, got married and had two kids. She started running again to lose baby weight, setting a goal to sign up for a marathon.
D’Amato made it to the 2017 Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, hoping to break three hours, and clocked 3:14:54 in sleet, wind and hail. She kept running and lowered her best time over the next three years.
She was 15th at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, then on Dec. 20, 2020, ran 2:22:56 at the Marathon Project in Arizona to become the eighth-fastest American woman in history.
Now she’s tied as the 22nd-fastest woman in history counting all courses, according to World Athletics.
“It’s so special, to think that this dream was gone a decade ago,” D’Amato said. “Somehow, I just believed.”
Also in Houston on Sunday, Sara Hall, a 38-year-old mom, broke the American record in the half marathon, clocking 1:07:15, taking 10 seconds off Molly Huddle‘s record from four years ago.
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A NEW AMERICAN RECORD! 2:19:12 for Keira D’Amato!! pic.twitter.com/FCI5CK7RXz
— FloTrack (@FloTrack) January 16, 2022