33-year-old elite American runner Sara Hall is raising four kids with husband and former elite marathoner Ryan, and now she’s prepping for her third 26.2-miler this year. As part of her preparation, the 10-time U.S. National Team member will be lacing up her racing flats and toeing the line at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon on Sunday.
“I feel really excited for the opportunity to race in San Jose,” says Hall, who graduated from nearby Stanford University where she was a 10-time All-American. “My family and I are making a weekend out of the race, my daughter will be running the Stanford Invitational the day before.”
The Halls adopted their four daughters (Hana, Mia, Jasmine, and Lily) from Ethiopia in the fall of 2015.
“It’s going to be special and meaningful for me,” she said, “We are also going to take the girls to where we got married in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I feel great and think it will be a fantastic opportunity to run fast on a flat course. I’m going to take advantage of that.”
Hall has been continuing to improve her performance, having set a personal best in the half marathon (1:10:07) in Houston back in January. She’s using the San Jose to tune up for the TCS New York City Marathon in November.
“I felt good at Houston and it made me excited to run another fast course. I have an idea in my mind with what I want to run on Sunday, but it really comes down to getting in a really good effort. I love the half. It’s my favorite distance right now. It feels like a treat.”
Currently Hall’s marathon PR is 2:30:06—which is the 4th fastest time in the country this year, behind the three that represented the U.S. at the Rio Games.
“I’m excited for New York. I’ve made some improvements in my strength this year, I’m more focused on competing well than being concerned with he time, because the course is challenging.”
Hall has run in San Jose a few times, competing in the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, but this weekend is her first time running the famed Rock ‘n’ Roll event.
“I love music,” she says. “Sometimes I wish I could race with headphones on. Music gives me a boost and I miss that in many races where there’s no entertainment like I’m sure I’ll see on Sunday.”
The concept of running and sports in the Hall family isn’t limited to Sara. Her husband, Ryan, an American Olympian, continues to train, as do her daughters. “Running looks different now,” she says. “I’ve had to wrap my mind around it after doing the same thing for 10 years. My running fits in the context of my family. Everyone is in sports. Not any one person is the sole focus.”
Expected to compete for the win against Hall will be Kenya’s Sally Kipyego, who owns an Olympic silver medal from the 10,000m event back in 2012. Other elite entries in the women’s half-marathon division include Americans Amy Schnittger and Molly Friel.
Further back in the pack on Saturday and Sunday will be thousands of other runners taking part in a series of exciting races in San Jose. Besides the half marathon, a 10K kicks off on Sunday, and the day before, two more events (the Kids Rock and the 5K) will fill downtown San Jose with bands and cheering.
Rock ‘n’ Roll festivities begin with the Health and Fitness expo on Friday. The weekend will end when finish-line festival headliner Rogue Wave, an indie band from nearby Oakland, takes to the stage. As with all Rock ‘n’ Roll races, there will be no shortage of entertainment along the route.