Keira D’Amato, the American women’s record holder in the marathon, spoke at Inman Connect Las Vegas about her journey as a professional runner and third-generation Realtor.

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Keira D’Amato is “America’s fastest Realtor” — and if anyone wants to challenge her for that title, she’ll gladly race them for it.

D’Amato is a third-generation Realtor in Richmond, Virginia and the American women’s record holder in the marathon. Two weeks ago D’Amato competed at the World Athletics Championships where she finished eighth overall.

On Thursday she took to the stage at Inman Connect Las Vegas in a session called, “Running and Real Estate: A Realtor’s Road to a Marathon Record.”

D’Amato discovered a passion for running in high school and continued running in college at American University where she started racking up conference championship titles. She joined an elite running team directly after college but after developing stress fractures she took an eight-year break from competitive running. She got married, had kids and started a career in real estate.

Then, seeking the sport’s physical and mental benefits, she started running again professionally while remaining a Realtor. She signed her first professional contract with Nike at age 36 and earned her first national title at age 37.

“A lot of people asked me, what changed between round one and round two? The biggest change was a perspective shift,” she told attendees.

“The first thing I learned was it’s OK to fail.”

As a student running was her life. She ate, slept and breathed running. But after she was “forced out” because of the fractures which required surgery that wasn’t covered by insurance, she said, “what happened next was beautiful.”

She forgave herself, put away her previous goals and moved on.

Now “I feel like it’s my superhero power that I’m not afraid of failing because now I look at failing as a chance to learn,” she said.

“So when I go into any race, I think, ‘Well, I’ll either hit my goal or learn something.’ Both are pretty good options.”

The second thing she learned is to have the courage to start. The first time she started running again she set a goal of running for three minutes. She only made it a minute and walked the rest of the way home. But she tried again the next day and the next and eventually started meeting and exceeding her goals.

“The three minutes turned into five, 10 minutes, but I eventually got the courage to try a marathon,” she said.

The third thing she learned is to chase happiness, not success.

“I was finding goals I was really excited about and I was having a lot of fun,” she said. “By prioritizing happiness I gained more success than I ever imagined.”

When she set her sights on the American record for the marathon and decided to run the Houston Marathon, she knew not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

“Good is good enough,” she said. She trained hard for that race in between home inspections and appraisals, in all kinds of weather.

“I realized I can perform at a high level in less than ideal conditions,” she said.

Once she started running that race, there was a point when her mind started negotiating with her body. She made a deal with herself that if she won the record, she’d never have to run again — and she believed it at the time.

She beat the previous record with a time of 2:19:12. And then pulled out her computer to answer a bunch of real estate-related questions.

“I just couldn’t believe that I’d done it,” she said.

Then, an hour or two later, after fully believing she’d never run again, she thought, “I can do better.”

Now she’s “training [her] butt off” for a fall marathon and feels sure that “the best is yet to come.”

“I think we all underestimate what we’re capable of,” she said.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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