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470. Calum Neff, Pacer for Keira D'Amato's American Record at the Houston Marathon

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“We hit that first split bang on the money, and I told her, ‘We’re good. It’s happening. It’s on.'”

It was a record-breaking, history-making weekend at the Houston Marathon! Keira D’Amato won the race and ran a new American record in the marathon, finishing in 2:19:12 and breaking Deena Kastor’s former record by 24 seconds. And Keira had some company along the way: two pacers, one of whom was Texas-based ultra-runner and four-time Guinness World Record Holder Calum Neff. (You may also remember Calum as the “green shorts guy” who paced Sara Hall at the Marathon Project in 2020.) And while Calum is an incredibly accomplished runner, he — like Keira — had never broken 2:20 in the marathon. So this task would require running a personal best of his own en route to that American record goal. (Spoiler: He did it, finishing in 2:19:33.) On this episode, Calum talks about how he got the role as Keira’s pacer, what it was like previewing the course together the day before the race, and what that 5:18 pace actually felt like. Plus, all the details and dad jokes from the day, hashing out the realities of pandemic marriage and parenting (Calum and his wife have three daughters), and what’s next for Calum.

SPONSOR: Shokz — Visit shokz.com/ontherun for 15% off wireless headphones.

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How Calum’s feeling post-race (4:00)
  • How Calum got the job as Keira D’Amato’s Houston Marathon pacer (5:55)
  • What Calum’s training was like leading up to Houston (16:20)
  • All about Calum’s experience at the 2021 Chicago Marathon (21:00)
  • How Calum balances pacing duties with his own running goals, and what it was like previewing the course with Keira (27:15)
  • The plan for race day (36:00)
  • All about the race (46:15)
  • That finish line moment (1:04:05)
  • Calum’s top moment from the day (1:13:00)
  • What’s next for Calum? (1:16:00)

Check out:

Calum Neff on Episode 318 of the Ali on the Run Show

Keira D’Amato on Episode 414 of the Ali on the Run Show

Keira D’Amato on Episode 305 of the Ali on the Run Show

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