As she crossed the finish line April 28 during the Women’s 5k portion of the 2019 OKC Memorial Marathon, Sara Moore threw her arms in the air and pumped her fist in celebration.
The Surrey Hills Elementary kindergarten teacher was not celebrating finishing first in the race, but instead celebrating being able to compete.
“I had been injured in my senior year of college and hadn’t really been able to compete in a race like that for a couple of years, so I was just excited and happy to be out there running,” Moore said. “I celebrated because I was able to compete, not because I won.”
Moore finished the race in 20:00, which was slower than the time she had hoped going into the event. She said she was slowed down and her rhythm was affected when the 5k course mixed in with the half-marathon course.
“The goal I had set for myself didn’t happen. I got slowed down a bit when the course intermingled with the half-marathon race, but it was a good course other than that. After that portion of the race, I knew my goal was unattainable, so I decided to run for placing instead for time.”
Leading up to the race day, Moore trained with Higher Ground Running for eight weeks. The coach for Higher Ground Running is Chris Ebert, who happened to be a former college teammate of Moore.
Ebert won the Men’s 5K at the OKC Marathon.
“I went out pretty hard to start the race,” Moore said. “I remember looking around at the mile-and-a-half mark and not seeing any other females around, so I knew if I kept my pace, I would have a good chance at winning.”
It was Moore’s first time to compete in the OKC Marathon.
Moore graduated from Oklahoma City University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in education. She was on scholarship at OCU for track. Moore came to the United States in 2013 on a track scholarship to OCU from Ireland where she was born.
She became a graduate assistant for the track and field team for a year after she graduated from OCU. She then became a teacher at Surrey Hills Elementary and joined the Yukon High School track and field coaching staff as an assistant coach.
“It was a culture shock at first coming to the United States, but I really have gotten to love Oklahoma,” Moore said. “I am getting married in July to an Oklahoma guy and I can’t wait.”
Moore started running when she was nine after her older brother introduced it to her and her other siblings. She said she didn’t like it at first, but she eventually fell in love with it.
In 2012, Moore had the honor of representing her hometown in Ireland by carrying the Olympic Torch during the 2012 London Games.
Moore will get free Subway for a year following her top placing at the OKC Memorial Marathon. She said she had a teammate take her to show her the Bombing Memorial when she first arrived to Oklahoma City.
“One of my older teammates was Irish as well, so she took me to see the Memorial. It was an honor getting a chance to compete in such a meaningful event. What they are able to do at the Memorial Marathon every year is truly amazing.”