Proud limp: Former Cadet runner an Olympic trials qualifier

Courtesy photo Fort Frye graduate Sarah Biehl is draped in an American Flag following the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon on Oct. 21.

COLUMBUS — When Sarah Biehl crossed the finish line at Oct. 21’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, the former Fort Frye Cadet running standout was draped in an American flag.

And, fittingly so, because she had just qualified for her first Olympic trials with a clocking of 2 hours, 44 minutes, and 25 seconds.

“With about 400 meters to go, I knew I was close to qualifying,” recalled the 24-year-old Biehl. “So, I picked up the pace, and then I saw the finish line clock, and…well, I wasn’t certain, but I believed I’d done it.”

The flag basically confirmed it.

In fact, Biehl qualified with 35 seconds to spare, because she’d run the 26.2-mile distance under the Olympic trials standard of 2:45.

“I was so happy,” Biehl said. “A lot of hard work went into this. That’s for sure.

“I had a lot of help, a great coach, and it was a team effort.”

Biehl was so elated that she’d almost forgotten how chilly it was that race day in central Ohio.

“This was my second Columbus Marathon, and last year, it was so humid,” said Biehl, who covered the 2017 distance in 2:49.27. “This year, it was so cold. And, the worst was when we had to shed our warmups at the starting line.”

Thing is, the cold might’ve aided Biehl a little bit in chopping five minutes or so off last year’s time.

Biehl was the fourth female to finish at the Columbus Marathon, and her coach, 38-year-old Christina Murphy, a two-time Olympic trials qualifier, was first in a time of 2:40.43.

Both Biehl, who currently resides in Hilliard, and Murphy are CRC (Columbus Running Company) Elite team members.

“Chistina is also my chiropractor,” Biehl said.

Biehl and Murphy will now have a little over a year to train in the most competitive marathon field in the nation: the February 2020 Olympic Trails Marathon in Atlanta, Ga.

“You know, after last month’s marathon, I was struggling to walk, and had a proud limp,” said Biehl, laughing. “I even took some time off from running for a week, which was kind of weird.”

Biehl’s back at it, now, though.

Biehl, needless to say, has come a long way from Lowell, Ohio, where her parents Delmar and Aileen Biehl still live. At Fort Frye and then later at Shawnee State University, she excelled on the race course. At the latter, she was an NAIA national qualifier.

Just last August in Parkersburg, W.Va., Biehl was the first American woman in the 32nd annual Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon in a time of 1:20.34, and because she finished sixth overall, she earned $1,000.

At CRC, Biehl hold records in the 5,000m (outdoor track: 16:31) and 3000m (indoor track: 9:56).

At the USATF 25k national championship, she finished 11th.

Biehl also has a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) degree and is currently employed at Olympia Therapy.

At the Olympic trials in Ga., she will be attempting to make the U.S. team, which will be competing in Tokyo, Japan, in July and August of 2020.

“I just want to be as competitive as I can be,” Biehl said. “And I just want to keep getting better and shoot for a PR (personal record) in the run.”