For a mother of three who balances her job as a real estate agent, Sara Vaughn’s stint in running on the World championships’ track wasn’t an easy affair. But success doesn’t really feel sweet if comes easily, right?

Being among the 47 runners competing in the women’s 1,500 metres at the World championships — which started on Friday, August 4, in London — 31-year-old Sara is a true champion, The Washington Post reported.

“I was like, I don’t know if I could work and be a mom to my older two kids and take care of this infant and run. It seemed overwhelming,” she said.

However, the dream of putting on the running shoes, acquiring the ability to juggle work between office and family, was challenging for Sara even a couple of years ago. She recalls a three-month stretch in 2015 when she was unsure if she could ever run again.

“But I couldn’t ignore the feeling of wanting to compete still.”

Her youngest daughter Cassidy was born in 2015 and she was on a gap of six months. According to her, that particular phase was “the worst shape of her life”. Having a new-born baby and keeping up your running dream doesn’t really go side-by-side. She explained how she would get ready for a run, and then the physically exhausted mother would fall asleep on the couch.

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Sara’s athletic dream was always a struggle. When she was pregnant with her oldest, Ciara, she was in college. Sara with her now-husband Brent Vaughn were on athletic scholarships at the University of Colorado. A young Sara, who at that time couldn’t imagine life with a child, managed to hold on to her running dream with her husband’s support. But little did she know that pretty soon it will stop her running career for a while. She had help from the coaches but administrators in the school’s athletic department were reluctant to work with expectant mothers.

Now, a decade later, Sara has kept her running hopes high. Her family grew. So did the lack of time to spend on stretches and runs.

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But all goes well if there is determination. After three kids, Sara, who had never really qualified for an Olympics or World championships, is trying to build an athletic career, once again.

Today, she exercises for a dedicated two hours and the rest goes on parenting and working.

“I always tell people, if you try to do everything at the same time, you’ll fail at everything,” she said

“Even if it switches every hour, whatever you’re doing in that moment, be present and focus on that. It’s hard. It takes conscious effort. But when I leave the house and I’m at track, I turn off my phone and tell myself my kids are fine and it’s time to be a professional athlete for 90 minutes. When my workout is done, it’s time to call clients back. And when I walk in the door at home, there’s no choice but to be fully present for my family.”

Keeping family as her first priority, Sara is collecting all the positive vibes she could get from her family instead of complaining about the hustle.

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“I don’t think I do well when it’s only track all the time. I think I self-destruct when I analyze everything,” she said.

“When you sit around and think about track all day between running and that’s all you do — I don’t function that way. I think being busy outside the sport helps me.”

Following her dream of participating in the Rio Olympics last year, Sara struggled to train herself but came 27th out of 30 in the women’s category, to qualify for the US Olympic trials. Later, she secured a seventh-place finish — her best finish at nationals – but was left out of the Rio selection.

“I don’t condone bribing your kids but that last month leading into trials, I told the kids, ‘If mommy does well, I’ll take you to London,’” Sara shared about the London dreams. “I would say it every day but not really expect to have to buy all these tickets to London,” she added.

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To enter the world championships, she gave her personal bests in the 800m and 1,500m, and hit the world standard — 4:07.50 — clocking 4:06.64. While in the final lap, she made it to the US world championship team, coming third in 4:07.85. This earned a spot on the US team at the World championships.

Now, all Sara and her family want is to crack the code to the Olympic cycle in Tokyo next season.

Feature Image Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

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Read More Stories By Ria Das

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