RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield runner Keira D’Amato has been selected to represent the USA in the World Half Marathon Championship in Oct. 2020 in Poland.
It was a surprising accomplishment as Keira had been training for the past the year for the US Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“The race was everything I hoped the Olympic dream would be and as terrible as the marathon can feel,” said D’Amato.
The 35-year-old finished 15th out of 511 women with a time of 2:34.34 (which is 5:42 minutes per mile)!
“To think that 4 years ago watching the Olympic trials I was pregnant with my daughter Quinn and on the couch 50-plus pounds overweight watching them on TV thinking I would never be there and just fast forward 4 years later and somehow I was there in the mix of things and finished 15th, I’ve come a long way,” said D’Amato.
This was the first time Atlanta’s Olympic Cauldron torch has been lit since 1996.
“It was a surreal experience to run through where they hosted the 96′ Olympics. Through the course, you run by the Olympic rings and you go by the Centennial Olympic Park," said D’Amato. "Watching the Olympics in 96 as a child, I saw the torch the lit the torch that day it hasn’t been lit since the 96′ Olympics and it was really cool.”
Unfortunately, Keira’s running time and placement wasn’t fast enough but still held her head high and proud as she crossed the finish line.
“When I saw the finish line everything just hit me like a ton of brick and I saw the finish line and I started pumping my arms and I was flying down the straightaway and I’m sure people watching realizes she’s not winning right, she’s 15th she’s not making the team someone should probably tell her," said D’Amato. "But I was so proud of the work I had done and that I finished and that I can hold my head up high knowing that I left it all on the course that day.”
Several weeks before the big race in Atlanta, Keira competed in the Houston Half marathon to prepare herself for what was in-store in Atlanta.
She finished the race 8th with the time of 69.59 and little did she know that race in Houston would change her life: an invitation to compete in the World Half Marathon Championship in Poland.
“I got an email and I didn’t really read it correctly so I thought they were saying would you been interested and so I wrote back saying heck yeah I’m interested to let me know-how and they wrote back saying maybe you didn’t understand congratulations you’ve been selected for the USA team,” said D’Amato. “Running a half marathon for the US definitely hits my goal for just representing the U.S."
Keira is currently training day and night with the team’s coach and hopes to bring home the Gold.
"Nothing has set in yet, still feels like this wild ride that I’m watching from the sideline or the stadium like I can’t believe this is me,” said D’Amato.
Originally the race was set for the end of Mar. 2020 but due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus it has been pushed back to Oct. 2020.
Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.