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Sarah Attar’s global legacy in the running community

The two-time Olympian, who was invited to compete for Saudi Arabia at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, explains how running’s message can be universal.


Sarah Attar, who made history as one of the first female athletes to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics, has lived in Mammoth for more than three years now, calling it “a magical place to improve my running and get to the next level.”


Ahead of her next big goal – hitting the Olympic marathon standard ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games – she used the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2018, to test where she’s at. Beating her personal best by four minutes, she set a new national record for Saudi Arabia.


When she’s not focused on achieving her own goals, she loves to share her experiences with others around the globe, and recently took part in the world’s longest relay run with On. We spoke with her to find out more about her impact in the global running community.


What’s a typical day like for you with the Mammoth Track Club?

“We meet for practice around 8 a.m. every morning, and while we may all have a different number of reps or pace goals going on, we’re all at the track together doing our warmup together. On Tuesdays and Fridays, we go to the gym afterward as a group. That’s been really beneficial because we focus a lot on posture, strength and form exercises that really supplement our running instead of overpowering it. We’ll come back and have a brunch type meal, and then I’ll go out for my second run later in the evening. I’m also working part-time jobs, so I try to squeeze in naps as best as I’m able to.”


How has training with a group been beneficial for you?

I always find myself training above my running ability level, so to be in a group that’s really pushing me and reminding me of what I’m capable of allows me to achieve more than I expect. It’s such a positive group that it makes it easier to get out the door every morning and keep a routine going. It really creates a powerful core network.


What advice do you have for avid runners in terms of goal-setting for their big races?

Big races are super fun to have on the calendar. It’s really beautiful to be able to put in the work to get to this one day that shows you what you’re able to get out of yourself. Of course, it’s going to be hard and it’s going to hurt. But I see it as a celebration of all the training you’ve done. It’s also about respecting the distance you’re taking on. Do the little things because they are super crucial, like hydrating and getting the right meal before the race. Also, just relax and know that the work is there. Just getting to the start line is such a big accomplishment. Embrace that. Have fun with it.


What On items are you using, and how has the partnership been valuable in your career?

I do all my workouts in On shoes, particularly the Cloudflash, which are my favorite for the speed sessions we’ve been doing. I’m currently lounging on a porch in the Long-T, which I really like, and also the Weather Jacket is one of my favorites. These types of partnerships on a personal level really allow us to focus on what we need to do to get the work in. Because I definitely have phases where I feel overworked trying to financially make things happen and support myself.


What was world’s longest relay run like?

That was such a cool opportunity. I led the relay in San Francisco and I was able to connect with the people in community. It was an amazingly curated event that connected people across the globe and it was so cool to be able to lead one of the relays. One of the running clubs in Saudi Arabia that I’m connected with was also part of the relay in their time zone, so it was able to share in that event with them.”


The Cloudace
Put to the test by Sarah in the world’s longest relay run. The shoe for maximum support that refuses to slow down.


Where are most of your friends in the running community today?

I have them in pieces across the globe. There’s definitely a lot here in the U.S. since I train here full-time. I have family in Saudi Arabia, and when I’m there I run with the groups out there. And then, since my story has been on global platforms, I’ve been able to connect with so many people across the world which is really something special.


What legacy do you hope to leave in the running community?

It’s interesting, because I’ve already been talked about in history books. So I feel like the legacy with me has already happened. I think there’s a cool balance of this big global story that took place in London and Rio, and to be able to make history in that way was super special. But my goal now is to qualify and make it an even a bigger story. I hope that I can share with people that running is bigger than ourselves and it connects us globally. If we really embrace all of that, I think it can fuel us in these amazing ways.


The Cloudflash
Sarah Attar’s go-to for tempo training and racing. The shoe for the important seconds in life.