Culture

My Biggest Fan: Sara Hall and Karen Bei

Sarah Hall and her mom, Karen Bei, show that they are each other's biggest supporters.

sara hall and mom

Professional runner Sara Hall may compete on the track for a living—but it’s on the sidelines cheering for her mom, Karen Bei, that Sara truly hits her stride.

My daughter, Sara, started where most elite runners begin, winning cross-country and track titles in high school. In college, she was All-American, and now as a professional athlete, she wins big races like the 2012 US National Cross Country Championship title. I was fortunate to be able to root her on every step of the way.

Recently, however, Sara has become my number-one support system as I conquer my own running goals.

I had never been a runner, but when I hit my 50s, I started to feel like a frumpy 50. Sara would say, “Oh mom, you should run, you should run!” I told her I would give it a shot, so she wrote me a training plan. I’m the kind of person that, if you tell me what to do, I’ll follow the recipe.

Her plan was really helpful! It took me all the way to the start line of a local 10K race in Santa Rosa, Calif. Both Sara and her husband, fellow elite runner Ryan Hall, made a special trip out just to cheer me on!

Sara is a big one for having goals. She believes you have to have something you’re running toward. So after my 10K, Sara convinced me to sign up for a marathon. When the day of my race—the 2011 Chicago Marathon—rolled around, I was nervous, and as the miles ticked by, I started to hurt.

But Sara jumped in at the end of the race, running right alongside me and feeding me gels. I made it to the finish, and it was so special to do that with her.

I  have a goal to get out every day and run. Sara lets me text her and say, “Wow, I ran this route four minutes faster!” Even though it’s so much slower than the times she’s used to, she doesn’t roll her eyes. She’s really great like that.

This year, we got to do a fun run together in Boston. Sara was there racing the B.A.A. Mile and her husband was racing the Boston Marathon. Together, we did a Muscle Milk 5K fun run after her race. That day Sara ran a 4:55 mile to place fourth—and I ran my fastest mile ever during the 5K, because I had to keep up with everyone! Just being able to experience a little bit of those feelings Sara experiences as a professional runner is really fun as her mom.

Who is your biggest fan? Email your submission to editorial@womensrunning.com! If your nomination is chosen, you’ll win a WR headband, T-shirt and a free subscription (or renewal) for you and your fan!