A hamstring injury forced Clara Santucci to withdraw from the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials mid-race Saturday (Feb. 13) in Los Angeles, but don’t expect the former WVU All-American to be down for long.

“I am healing, recovering and motivated for the future,” Santucci told WVU Medicine via email. “I am so determined to return stronger and better for this. This is not the end of my story!”

Santucci is sponsored by WVU Medicine.

Saturday marked her second appearance in the trials, having finished seventh in 2012. She was ranked 13th among a women’s field of more than 200. The top three runners qualify for the the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Santucci told WV MetroNews she felt her hamstring tighten around Mile 9.

“Up until then, I felt I was following my plan very well and felt good,” she told Allan Taylor. “I kept going until around 15 miles while it progressively was worsening and slowing my pace. I thought maybe it was just a rough patch that I could work through. Eventually I had to walk and tried running again a couple times.”

“When I saw my husband, we both knew I shouldn’t go any further,” she said. “That was the hardest part -- bringing myself to step off and say this chance was over.”

Santucci said despite the injury, “I am being uplifted by the encouragement I've received from my family, friends and supporters. I want to be an example of success after a setback. There are many positives I can still take away from this experience. I am looking forward to 2020 and many successes along the way.”