Top marathoner killed, hit by car while cycling
March 14th, 2011

Professional runner Sally Meyerhoff died Tuesday after her bike collided with a pickup truck in Maricopa, police said.

Meyerhoff apparently biked through the intersection of White and Parker Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway around 1:30 p.m. heading south and collided with a truck heading east, according to Maricopa police spokeswoman LaTricia Woods.

The driver showed no signs of impairment, Woods said.

Meyerhoff, considered one of America's top 10 marathon runners, was training for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston. She won the women's section of the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon in January.

Tempe Marcos de Niza High track coach Anna Rodriguez, who ran on the same cross country and track teams with Meyerhoff at Phoenix Mountain Pointe High in the early 2000s, said she confirmed the death through Meyerhoff's younger sister, Samantha, whom Rodriguez coached three years ago at Marcos de Niza.

"It's shocking; I still don't believe it happened," Rodriguez said.

Meyerhoff, a 2002 Mountain Pointe graduate, was a seven-time state high school track and field champion in the 1600 and 3200 meters. She finished 12th at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 2001.

She graduated in 2006 from Duke, where she was an NCAA All-American in cross country in 2004 and in track in 2006. She was the Atlantic Coast Conference cross-country champion in 2004.

In January, Meyerhoff celebrated a marathon championship in her home town, winning the P.F. Chang event in 2 hours, 35 minutes, 49 seconds. It qualified her for her second Olympics Trials in the marathon.

"This is what she dreamed about," Rodriguez said. "She wanted to have a family and kids. But I kept telling her, 'You'll have that, too.' She was so driven. Nothing was going to get in her way."

--by Jason Pacini and Richard Obert, AZ Central