Five-time New York City Marathon champion Kurt Fearnley of Australia and Sara Hall of California have spent the weeks leading up to the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon sharing their journeys to the starting line on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Fearnley and Hall are serving as NYRR’s pro athlete social media ambassadors for this year’s race and giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at their training.
After finishing as the second American and 15th overall at March’s IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships, and then setting a personal-best (2:30:06) at April’s Virgin Money London Marathon, Hall will be making her TCS New York City Marathon debut.
Hall believes social media is a great way to inspire others without having to break from her busy training schedule and fly all over the country to interact with fans.
“No matter what level a person is running at, there is something really intriguing about seeing someone's process building up to a big moment like the TCS New York City Marathon,” Hall said. “People love seeing all the little ways we as professionals strive to be excellent, and hopefully that inspires people in their own goals and endeavors.”
She adds: “Being a social media ambassador this year gives me an opportunity to share my story with those who follow the race, so that when they watch me run on race day, they will have more of a sense of who I am as a person and what I've overcome to get to this point.”
Hall has been formidable over a variety of distances and owns national titles in the one mile (2011), 5K (2006), and 8K (2012), in addition to a gold medal in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the 2011 Pan American Games and a top-10 finish at the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
She’s married to her former Stanford teammate, two-time U.S. Olympian Ryan Hall, and in 2009 the couple founded the Hall Steps Foundation, which fights global poverty through better health. Last year, the couple adopted four sisters from Ethiopia–Hana, Mia, Jasmine, and Lily–and the entire family is eager to cultivate a love for running in everyone they meet.
“My busy family life as a mom of four makes me relatable to others trying to find the time to still pursue running goals while still being an excellent spouse, parent, and employee,” Hall said. “I hope that watching me go after this race with all I have inspires them to do the same.”
Fearnley, a five-time Paralympian and 13-time Paralympic medalist, will be going for his sixth New York City Marathon title in the men’s wheelchair division. This year, he won the Tokyo Marathon and placed second at the Rio Paralympic marathon and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. He has finished in the top three in every New York City Marathon since 2005, aside from last year, when he crossed the finish line in fifth place.
In his autobiography, Pushing the Limits: Life, Marathons and Kokoda, and on his social media channels, Fearnley uses wheelchair racing as a platform for helping people with impairments.
“We all run the same 26.2 miles on race day, but spend the weeks and months getting there in different ways,” Fearnley said. “Being a social ambassador allows me to interact with the tens of thousands of runners that could easily miss the contribution the wheelchair division makes to the race. Often, the abled-bodied community will be unsure how much in common they have with the athletes from the disabled sports community until they have an initial interaction and see that we put in just as much when it comes to training miles and recovery.”
Fearnley is extremely dedicated to those who have helped him in his journey to the top, most importantly, his wife. Two days after his New York City Marathon victory in 2009, Fearnley proposed to his long-time girlfriend, Sheridan Rosconi, on a carriage ride through Central Park; the pair wed in December 2010. This year, Rosconi will run the New York City Marathon for the first time.
By Stuart Lieberman
GET YOUR STORIES ON. Read more inspiring stories from runners chronicling their journeys to the TCS New York City Marathon starting line.
TUNE IN. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 6, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tri-state area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.