“Underdog” Molly Seidel makes Olympic team the first time she ran a marathon

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Photo of Molly Seidel celebrating at the Olympic Marathon Trials by Justin Britton, Co-founder A Runner’s Eye Creative

Molly Seidel, 25, wasn’t expecting much when she toed the starting line at the Olympic marathon trials last weekend in Atlanta. Seidel was an accomplished college athlete, locking in four N.C.A.A. titles, but in the years since graduating had struggled with injuries. Unlike other high-profile runners, Seidel works two jobs—at a coffee shop and babysitting—to pay the bills. She trains a couple of times a day around her work schedule, braving the weather in her adopted hometown of Boston. And, oh yeah, before her race at the Olympic trails on Saturday, she’d never run a marathon before.

“I had no idea what this was going to be like,” Seidel told the New York Times. “I didn’t want to oversell it and put way too much pressure on, knowing how competitive the field was going to be. But talking with my coach, I didn’t want to phone it in just because it was my first one.”

Phone it in she did not. According to the NYT, Seidel ran an unassuming race until mile 21, when she broke away from the pack with two other runners, Aliphine Tuliamuk and Sally Kipyego. At that point, Seidel told the paper that she knew she would either make the Olympic team or “’spectacularly go down in flames.” Her move paid off, and Seidel, along with Tuliamuk and Kipyego, secured their spots at the Olympics this summer in Tokyo.

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