Posted by: Joe English | January 12, 2008

Interview: Sally Meyerhoff on her debut marathon and qualifying for the Olympic Trials

Sally Meyerhoff is one of new generation of young runners. The 24-year old native of Phoenix, Arizona was a two-time NCAA All-American at Duke University and now coaches cross-country and teaches at her alma mater, Mountain Pointe High School. Sally is making her debut at the marathon distance at the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon, where she is considered one of the lead contenders of a strong group of women trying to qualify for the US Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials coming up in April. Her half-marathon personal best of 1:06:39 at the AFC Half Marathon in San Diego shows that she has the speed to run a great marathon time here tomorrow.

Sally Meyerhoff at PF Chang’s Arizona
Sally Meyerhoff after the Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon.
Photo Joe English.

I talked with Sally on Friday and asked her about how it felt to be in the lime-light and to give some advice to young women runners looking to follow in her foot-steps.

Coach Joe (CJ): What do you want to do out there this weekend at the Rock N Roll Marathon?

Sally Meyerhoff (SM): I really want to get the A-standard and run under 2:39:00. I just want to run as fast as I possibly can and hopefully do as well as I can.

CJ: You seem to be a considered one of the contenders at the race this weekend and there’s a packed field of women runners here. How does it make you feel to be in the spotlight like that?

SM: I guess learned after running in college for so long and making the mistake of psyching myself out because of other people and other people’s level of talent – I learned that you just can’t do that. I know there are a lot of people thinking “why is she up there when she’s never run a marathon before,” but I’ve run a lot of endurance events . . .”

CJ: What kinds of endurance events?

SM: I did my first half-marathon last August at the AFC Half-Marathon in San Diego and that went pretty well. And I did a Half-Ironman (distance triathlon) in September in Cancun. I was pretty impressed with myself for running as well as I did there at the end of the triathlon (Half-marathon run split was 1:20:00). It made me feel that I could run under a 2:39:00 marathon running a marathon without the three hours of exercise first. I went well. I was pushing myself, but since it was my first half-Ironman I held a little bit back in case I needed it in the end.

CJ: Do you plan to do more triathlons?

SM: Yes, I have some races planned and I hope to qualify for the World Championships in Kona this fall.

CJ: Triathlon and running are expensive. Do you have sponsors to help with the costs?

SM: No, I don’t. I just graduated from college in May and I hope to someday have sponsors to help pay some of those costs so that I can train more during the days and spend more time preparing meals and even getting in a nap every so often.

CJ: Do you have any advice for the young girls out there that will be looking up to you and may want to follow in your footsteps?

SM: Yes, I’d just say that I’ve had lots of ups and downs where I’ve thought that I might need to quit this sport. There will be times where you’ll hit very big lows. You just have to look at the big picture and set goals for yourself and keep those in mind. And then I think it helps to set small goals along the way.

Sometimes I think about my long terms goals, like getting sponsors and becoming a professional and I think ‘oh my gosh’ that seems a long way off. So I just remind myself to take it week by week and goal by goal. If you’re not setting goals, I don’t think that you’re going to feel like you’re accomplishing much. What makes the sport fun is when you set small goals and accomplish those and see your progress over time. I think that inspires people and makes them happier.

CJ: How did you get into running?

SM: I used to do it just for fun when I about nine or ten years-old. I just started doing it consistently in about the sixth grade. Then it was track and cross-country and it became an all-year long pass-time for me. I also did some swimming, but when I got into High School, swimming and cross-country were in the same season, so I had to pick – and I picked cross-country.

CJ: Good luck this weekend. I hope to see you at the finish-line and congratulate you there.

SM: Thank you!

Editor’s note: for a post-race interview with Sally, click here.

Coach Joe English for Running Advice and News
Running Advice and News (



  1. […] out my interview from last night with Sally Meyerhoff. I interviewed her just after the finish and will post an interview with her […]

  2. […] Trials in her debut marathon at PF Chang’s Arizona. Read a pre-race interview with Sally by clicking here. Sally ran well and secured an entry into the trials with her 2:42:45 run through Phoenix, […]

  3. RIP Sally

  4. […] Sally Meyerhoff after the Rock […]

  5. […] asked her if she had any advice for young girls that would be looking up to her. Here is what she said: “Yes, I’d just say that I’ve had […]

  6. A short tribute to Sally Meyerhoff appears at Her passing was a loss to runners everywhere.

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