Sara Lopez

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Courtesy The Register-Guard

Sara Naumann Lopez is a long distance runner and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with her sub 2:37:00 win at the 16th Eugene Marathon (with a time of 2 hours, 33 minutes, 48 seconds). She had the second-best time in the history of the Eugene Marathon.

She also broke the Orange County Half Marathon course record in 2022 with a time of 1:13:53.

Sara ran distance during junior high and high school while living in Washington. When her family moved to Boston, Massachusetts when she was a junior, she anticipated continuing to work on her time so she could qualify to run for Brigham Young University. But a call to her parents to serve as mission leaders in Mexico changed her goal. The high school she would be attending did not have a competitive track and field program.

“I will admit I didn’t handle it well. I didn’t make it easy for my parents. I begged them to let me stay with a friend and finish my senior year in the U.S.,” she said. “I was mad at God: ‘Why are you doing this to me now?’”
Lopez gave up her senior year and moved to Mexico with her parents. 

In a Church News article, Lopez noted her difficult senior year without a track team or a coach, which included developing an eating disorder. “If I had competed at BYU with an eating disorder, I don’t think I would have performed to the best of my ability,” she said. “I think I would have been burned out from the sport permanently. I knew, in retrospect, that Heavenly Father was looking out for me and knew what was best for me.”[1] By 2020, she felt ready to run again and began training. She encountered a sprained ankle prior to a New York marathon in October 2022 and slipped disc before the California International Marathon in December 2022.

She will compete in the U.S. Olympic trials in February 2024 in Orlando, Florida.

Sara is married to Samuel Lopez.

Source: Church News, “The story of faith and endurance that carried this Latter-day Saint runner to the U.S. Olympic trials”