MEMBER: Sophia Dahab

Name: Sophia Dahab
Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska
High School: Lincoln Southeast
College: Grinnell College
Occupation: Rare Book Librarian
Favorite Place to Run in Philly: Schuylkill River Trail. But I'm a recent transplant from NYC, so I'm still exploring!

Personal Bests
1 mile - 5:54
5k - 20:02
10k - 43:16
Half Marathon - 1:33:48
Marathon - 3:18:10

Career Highlights
Chicago Marathon 2018 - Gotta love an 18 minute PR!


By: Kevin Brandon (03/09/19)

Sophia, thanks for taking time to speak with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and running with PRTC?

I just moved to Philadelphia in December of 2018 after having lived in NYC for the last decade or so (but I’m a born-and-raised Nebraskan). I was looking to meet some people and find a team, and joined PRTC on the recommendation of a friend and fellow teammate. 

When did you first become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?

I ran cross country and track in high school, but never really fully committed to it. I then took a very long hiatus, and spent my college years and mid-20s actively not running. I only started again about 5 years ago when my sister, a dedicated marathoner and triathlete, encouraged me to run a half marathon with her. I was thrilled to have finished in under two hours. I kept running after that, albeit inconsistently, but quickly found a great running community and caught the bug.

Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.

During my high school running days I was more focused on chasing geese and climbing trees during practice so my career didn’t really start until a few years ago.  I started with a few shorter races, and then took the plunge and signed up for my first marathon in 2016. I didn’t die, and in fact crossed the finish line smiling, so I did a couple more marathons before realizing that if I really wanted to get faster I had to be consistent, and I needed someone to push me and to hold me accountable.  So last year I hired a coach, put in the work, and took 18 minutes off my marathon time. And I’ve still got a lot of work to do. 

What is a favorite running accomplishment or moment? 

It’s a toss-up between the 2018 Chicago Marathon (the aforementioned pr marathon) and a Ragnar relay I did on Cape Cod this past May.  We were an all-women’s team aiming for a spot on the podium.  I was supposed to drive the van, but ended up as a last minute replacement runner. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could do it, I wasn’t convinced I was fast enough, and no one wants to be the weakest link in a situation like that.  But as it turns out I’m pretty good at running fast at 3am in the middle of nowhere because I’m a little afraid of the dark. We snagged first place women’s team, and third overall.

How about a not-so-great moment?

I ran my hometown marathon in Lincoln, NE back in May of 2017 and it was brutal.  My training cycle hadn’t been great, I’d had some knee issues going into it, and it was 80 degrees on race day. I gave it all I had, but totally fell apart in the second half, and even stopped to walk at mile 24.  I somehow still eked a tiny PR out of it, but it was a humbling experience.

Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?

Near-term goal is to PR in some shorter races this year. Long-term goal is to break 3 in the marathon.

Preferred pre and post-race meals?

Pre: Pizza.

Post: Water coffee beer pizza.

Can you share with us what you're currently up to professionally?

I’m a rare book and special collections librarian at the Library Company of Philadelphia, which is a non-profit research library founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731.  We specialize in the history of American society and culture from the 17th-19th centuries, and my particular interest is the material culture of the book as a physical object.

What inspired you to pursue this field?

I have a BA in English, so I bartended for a very long time after moving to New York. Money was great but the hours were lousy so I went to grad school and got a masters in library science.  I went in to it with zero ideas about what kind of library I ultimately wanted to work in, but after taking one rare books class I was hooked.

Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills or talents we may enjoy hearing about? 

I dabble in embroidery and am really good at Dr. Mario.