Molly Seidel to compete in New York City Marathon
Molly Seidel ran a lot of curls.
Four loops on a course that crossed Atlanta during the Olympic Trials when she qualified for the Olympic Games in her very first marathon in February 2020. Nineteen loops in October 2020 as part of the London Marathon reserved for elites who surrounded Buckingham Palace (again, and again, and again). And the three loops of the Olympic Marathon in Sapporo, Japan, where she won a bronze medal.
“Point to point is going to be crazy for me!” She said, referring to the New York Marathon, which she announced this week that she will be running. It will be his most conventional 26.2 mile race to date.
She chose the November 7 race from a busy fall schedule. The Boston, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo marathons now join the already busy schedule of the Berlin, Chicago, Washington and New York marathons due to postponements earlier this year.
After a flurry of press tours, celebrations and, yes, even another race, Seidel said she chose the New York City Marathon for several reasons – the difficulty of the course tops among them. It’s a world away from the Chicago and Berlin pancake flat marathons, routes many elite runners choose to aim for personal bests or world records.
The New York course is hilly and tactical, perfect conditions for a marathoner who has had her greatest success when the going gets rough.
Seidel qualified for the Olympics on a windy, cold and hilly course in Atlanta that slowed the pace of veteran marathoners. She won her bronze medal at the Olympics in swampy conditions in Sapporo, a city 500 miles north of Tokyo that Olympic organizers hoped would have milder temperatures.
âOh, it was warmer in Sapporo that day than in Tokyo,â she said. Hours before the race shot on August 6, the start time was set earlier, at 6 a.m. Temperatures at the start were still 78 degrees Fahrenheit with 82 percent humidity. âI feel like it’s just the universe laughing at us,â she said.
Still, she hoped for an advantage. Perhaps Peres Jepchirchir and Brigid Kosgei, two world record holders, would be slowed down from the pace of the world record in scorching conditions (Kenya’s Jepchirchir won gold and Kosgei won silver but neither did is approaching a record).
“I think if the conditions had been perfect that day they would have gone out and got the upper hand and had an amazing time because it was a very fast course.”
Seidel’s strength comes from his ability, in his own words, to prepare for a “sort of draw” race. She sees unfavorable conditions as opportunities to level the playing field a bit, to let her body do what it is trained to do.
âWhen it gets really tough and things start to level out a bit, that’s when I start to thrive,â she said.
The New York City Marathon schedule is particularly beneficial for those who have competed in the Tokyo Olympics, which arrive approximately 14 weeks after the Games.
Seidel will be joined by Jepchirchir and other formidable competitors like Des Linden, Emily Sisson, Ruti Aga, Laura Thweatt, Stephanie Bruce and Kellyn Taylor. Seidel’s two Olympic marathon teammates, Aliphine Tuliamuk and Sally Kipyego, will also line up on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
The marathon will be Tuliamuk’s return to running as she dropped out of the 20-kilometer Olympic marathon, citing hip problems. She is on the road to recovery and optimistic about her performance in this year’s race, calling it a cornerstone and sweet spot in the calendar for her.
âNew York is really the marathon that made me believe in myself,â Tuliamuk said over the phone, her 7-month-old daughter Zoe babbling in the background. âIn 2017, when I ran the New York City Marathon, I felt like I could be a marathoner. I went back in 2019 and had a very solid run and it was the run that made me believe I could be part of the Olympic team.
The elite men’s peloton will be led by Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands; Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia, and Jared Ward and Ben True from the United States.
They will be joined by 33,000 other marathon runners eager for an ounce of normalcy. Tuliamuk and Seidel both spoke wistfully about the joy of seeing fans on the streets again. Tuliamuk is looking forward to welcoming her daughter to the finish line. Seidel hopes he can finally run in front of his family again.
But, said Seidel, as excited as she is for this kind of experience, it’s not a fun run after the Olympics. âIf I go all the way to the marathon line, I want to make sure I’m competitive,â she said. âI don’t want to call him. “