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Posted: January 22, 2007

Athletics: Stepping Down, Hall Looks To Make Mile Her Own

From David Monti

© 2006 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved RaceResultsWeekly.com

NEW YORK (22-Jan) -- With a powerful move in the final 200m, Sara Hall won last September's Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile here, surprising a strong field of milers who looked at her as a 5000m runner. Perhaps not anymore.

"It just seemed like the right race," she said of the one mile distance at the weekly New York Track Writers luncheon here at a West Side restaurant.

It's a distance the 23 year-old who lives in Big Bear Lake, Calif., hopes to make her own.

"This year I'm going to be a little more mile-focused," she said. "Some of my best races have been the mile."

Opening her indoor season last Saturday at the New Balance Games at the Armory, Hall ran the mile, finishing second to Irishwoman Mary Cullen, but passing the Canadian indoor record holder for the distance, Carmen Douma-Hussar, just before the tape. Hall's time of 4:32.68 was a personal best, indoors or out.

Hall will run the mile again next Saturday evening at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, and she'll have a tough race on her hands. Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Sarah Jamieson of Australia, two-time Olympian Shayne Culpepper, and 2005 Prefontaine Classic 1500m champion, Christin Wurth-Thomas, will all be in the field. Hall thinks she'll be ready, and his hoping for a fast time.

"(Last) Saturday's race was a good indicator of where I am," Hall said. "Now I think this weekend will go really fast."

Hall comes from a sporting family, growing up in Santa Rosa, Calif., where, as Sara Bei, she won the Foot Locker High School Cross Country Championships in 2000. Her father was a baseball player at Stanford, her sister pole-vaulted at Harvard and her brother is a star running back at West Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, despite being only 5' 2" tall (157 cm). Her husband Ryan just set the North American record for the half-marathon in Houston on Jan. 14., winning the USA title for the distance. While he gets ready for a spring marathon, it's now Sara's time to race.

"I was telling him when I left that I had to keep the Hall family streak going," she joked referring to husband Ryan's victory in Houston, and brother-in-law Chad's win at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego last December.

Both Halls train in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., with Team Running USA under coach Terrence Mahon. Logging most of her miles with Kate O'Neill, the former Ivy League standout, Sara Hall has blossomed under coach Mahon, getting her 3000m time down to 8:56.93 and her 5000m time down to 15:20.88 last summer. In addition to winning on Fifth Avenue last year, she also won the U.S. 5-K road running title.

Hall said that she likes indoor running, noting that it was an "intimate setting," and also plans to compete at the 100th Millrose Games on Feb. 2 where she will contest the 3000m, the distance she thinks may actually be her favorite. She laments that it is not a championships distance for women any longer, at least outdoors.

"I think there are a lot of people who would have the 3000m as their their best event if still had it," she said.

Photo Link: TrackShark.com.


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