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America’s Fastest Female Marathon Runner Strikes Back After Injury

By: Emma Wei

Every morning, 37 year old Keira D’Amato gets ready for her daily run. She ties her shoelaces, foot by foot, and runs laps at St. Christopher’s School track in Richmond. The track is nearly empty, but there are a few people walking their dogs and a local running group jogging a few laps.

D’Amato’s morning routine was not always perfect. 14 years ago, D’Amato was forced out of the sport due to a severe injury. Five years ago, she started running again to cope with the lowest point of her life.

Even after such hardships, D’Amato pushed through and became America’s fastest female marathon runner. She claimed the title in January after finishing the Houston Marathon in a time of 2 hours 19 minutes 12 seconds. She smashed the previous set in 2006.

Becoming America’s fastest female marathon runner wasn’t enough. D’Amato believed she could do more. Go faster. There are many more goals D’Amato set for herself: Compete with the greatest runners in the world on a global stage, represent the United States, and earn a spot at the Olympics.

Her dream of representing the US could become reality. D’Amato was placed as an alternate runner for the world track and field championships this month. One of the three American runners dropped out.

Despite all of her achievements and goals, D’Amato does not run full-time. She still works as a realtor. Instead of training with the world’s best, she is in Richmond with her family. There’s her husband, Tony, works as a Microsoft delivery manager. Next is Tommy, her seven year old son, who prefers people to call him by his legal name “Thomas.” Finally, there’s five year old Quin, whose name has one “n” instead of two. D’Amato and her husband think one less “q” would “allow her to be 20 percent more efficient.”

Her family is why D’Amato won’t commit to sports full time. It’s not a commitment she is willing to take. After all, her family is what helped D’Amato keep running.

“That’s what’s really important to me,” D’Amato says about her children. “When I come

home from a race, whether I win or lose, they’re like: ‘Hey, Mom. What’s for dinner?’ They don’t care, you know?”

Her coach, Raczko, agrees as well. Raczko sees D’Amato getting older yet also faster. He doesn’t know if he is surprised that D’Amato’s training routine hasn’t changed although she is in her 30s.

“I don’t even know if she would have had the capability to do this when she was younger,” he says, then pauses. “Well, she didn’t.”

With the world track and field championships coming up, D’Amato is training harder than ever. Of course, with her family beside her cheering her on.

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