Sara Hall has been a runner to know since her first big win at the Foot Locker National High School Cross Country Championships in 2000. Nearly two decades later, she’s sampled distances ranging from the mile to the marathon, earning national titles in many and setting her sights on a powerful performance in Boston this year and another at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. In her downtime, she and her fellow pro running husband Ryan Hall are parents to four adopted sisters—the oldest of whom has already begun following in her parents’ footsteps.

We recently spoke with Sara for our “Meet the Elite” column to learn about her goals leading up to the 2020 Olympics.

Sara’s Strongest Distance

[The half marathon is] the event I feel like I’ve been able to consistently run what my training has shown. In the marathon, I’m getting close. I’m excited to keep mining my potential.

Running With Her Daughters

It’s been really fun to share running with them. It’s an individual sport, so I feel like it really needs to be initiated by them.

I found running on my own and was always self-motivated. If they want to pursue it, it’s up to them. My oldest daughter [Hana] is the only one who’s really in training. It’s been incredible to see the power of running in her life. … Running has given her so much confidence. It’s taught her how strong she really is.

Lessons Learned

It’s easy when you’re a high-achieving person to put your identity into how successful you are or try to live up to other people’s expectations. It took a lot of failure in the sport, mostly in college and early on as a pro, for me to root my identity in who God says I am and my relationship with Him. I feel free to take big risks because I’m not afraid to fail anymore.

In the marathon, there’s such a learning curve—you’re never going to nail every part. There’s always something you can do better next time.

2019 Goals

My main goal is to get as close to my potential as I can in the half and full marathon. It’s a fun journey of mining that out. I don’t feel pressure to prove anything to anyone or to myself. It’s just me and God going after this and seeing how far I can go.

Go-To Pump-Up Music

During workouts, Ryan will sometimes put Lindsey Stirling on. I’ve been listening to it when I warm up for races. It clicks my body in.