When you think of elite marathon runners, you probably imagine someone who has been painstakingly, punishingly training since a young age. But for Sarah Sellers, the story was very different. “27-year-old Tucson-based nurse and distance runner Sarah Sellers trains every day – but unlike many runners who dominate the big races, she (until recently) wasn’t a professional runner and had only run one marathon when she entered the best-known race in the country…and placed second in the Boston Marathon earlier this year,” the video explains. She has had an incredible journey — not only as an unexpected champion, but in having to adapt to the rigorous schedule as she quickly transitioned into a professional runner.

Learn about her story — and her incredibly grueling first Boston Marathon — in the video below:

Sellers is down-to-earth, unassuming, and passionate — but her story is about something bigger than her. It’s a crucial reminder that unexpected opportunities can present themselves, that life can take a meandering path, and that hard work does sometimes pay off in staggering ways. Most of us will never drop jaws with our Boston Marathon finishing times, but Sellers was open to the path that presented itself — even if it wasn’t one she was planning to take.