Georgia's Sarah Hope Wins Athens Half-Marathon



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ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia freshman Sarah Hope edged a pair of former Lady Bulldogs to win the first-ever Athens Half-Marathon on Sunday morning.

Hope, a native of Asheville, N.C., finished the 13.1-mile course in 1:27.41 ahead of former All-American and three-time Southeastern Conference champion Sarah Madebach (2nd – 1:27.49) and former standout Jill Skinner (3rd - 1:28.26).

With a field that featured 1,017 female competitors and a course that snaked up and down the many hills that Athens has to offer, Bulldog distance coach Jeff Pigg was pleased with the efforts of one of his freshman runners.

“She has been working hard all year and has already shown many signs of improvement,” said Pigg.  “We kind of recognized that she might not break into our top 10 as we prepared for the SEC Championships, which shows you how deep this team is.  She mentioned that her mom was going to be in town for the race and asked if she could run the half-marathon and I told her for sure.  I am really proud of the way she took advantage of his opportunity.”

“I really wasn’t thinking about this as a race, just as a longer training run,” said Hope, 18, who was running in only the second half-marathon of her life.  “I’m not a big fan of a lot of hills and this course had a ton of them.  But it was kind of fun to break the tape at the finish line since I had never actually done that.  It was also nice to run this race with mom.”

Her mom, Dolly McLean, crossed the finish line in 2:08.44, which was 425th overall.

Hope, a Biology major who is in the Honors Program at UGA, has competed in three meets for Georgia’s cross country team this season.  In addition to placing in the top 25 at the squad’s two home meets, Hope was the third Lady Bulldog finisher at the Gene Mullin Furman Invitational on Oct. 9 after taking seventh overall (18:52) in the 5k race.

Georgia’s cross country teams return to action at the SEC Championships in Columbia, S.C., on Monday, Nov. 1.

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