Keira D’Amato, a 37-year-old mother of two who quit distance running after college, broke the American record in the women’s marathon in Houston, Texas, on Sunday.
D’Amato crossed the finish line in 2:19:12 besting the previous record by 24 seconds.
On Tuesday, D’Amato, of Virginia, appeared on TODAY to discuss her journey to becoming the fastest U.S. woman to run 26.2 miles.
“If you would have told me I’d be here now, I wouldn’t have believed you,” D’Amato confessed to TODAY co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie. D’Amato noted that she initially returned to the sport for health reasons and to “have a little space in a chaotic life.”
But recreational running soon became something much more for the real estate agent, who shares kids, Tommy, 7, and Quin, 5, with her husband, Anthony D’Amato.
“I just believed I hadn’t found my potential and I was just so curious to what the limit was,” D’Amato explained. “And it’s just so exciting to me that I still feel like I haven’t found my limit and there’s still a lot of room to grow in the sport. I’m just like, what’s next?”
D’Amato said she has her sights set on the Olympics in 2024.
“It’s been a huge dream of mine,” D’Amato shared. “It’s something that transforms through all the sports and brings people all over the world together to compete and I want to be a part of that.”
“I want to be a part of that,” she continued. “So I’m gonna keep the running shoes on, and keep hitting the pavement and 2024, watch out!”