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How Olympic Marathon Runner Molly Seidel Is Handling the Delayed Tokyo Games

Molly Seidel finished second in her marathon debut, which was the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in late February, solidifying her spot to compete in Tokyo. However, it’s uncertain when the Saucony athlete will compete in her second marathon.

The 25-year-old long-distance runner was set to follow up her stellar first-ever marathon performance at the Tokyo Olympics, which was scheduled for Aug. 8. However, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government agreed Tuesday to reschedule the global event for “a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021″ due to the coronavirus crisis.

Below, Seidel talks how she’s navigating the professional uncertainty that the coronavirus crisis has caused.

Footwear News: You already solidified your spot for the marathon. Were you planning on trying to make the cut for any other event?

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Molly Seidel: “I had been planning on competing in the 10K [at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Track and Field in June]. I wouldn’t double at the Olympics, the marathon would be my main one, but I at the very least planned on doing the trials.”

What are your thoughts on the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics?

MS: “I personally think there is absolutely no legitimate reason for trying to do them this summer. With the current state of the world it would not only be extremely dangerous in terms of the health of the athletes, the health of the spectators and trying to assemble [the games] in four months here when we’re basically in complete lockdown. Also, the fact that the entire track season has been canceled at this point, there are no real opportunities for athletes to compete. And it is very difficult for training right now. In every way this needed to happen.”

How does this new date for the Olympics impact your schedule for both training and competing?

MS: “Obviously it disrupts it quite a bit. Things are already disrupted just because so many training facilities are shut down and there’s no access to things and because meets have been canceled. We’ll be lying pretty low the next couple of weeks as we wait for things to calm down a little bit and then we’ll try to work in another marathon cycle this fall, maybe we’ll try to do one of the marathon majors as we prepare for next summer.”

What events did you have planned ahead of the games?

MS: “I had planned on doing a couple of road races — [USATF] 25 Kilometer Championships that was set to be held in May, there was a 10K in New York City that I was planning on doing and the Olympic Trials 10K. Obviously those are either canceled or up in the air right now. We’re just trying to take it one day at a time, play it by ear.”

How will you adjust your training with a year to prepare?

MS: “I’m still building back up. We took a couple down weeks after the [Olympic marathon] trials but I’m running outside now. I’m trying to be as safe as possible about it and obviously adhering to social distancing recommendations. We’ll add in extra marathon cycles, we’ll take some extended time building up and getting a good base over the next couple of months because there’s a lot of uncertainty of what spring or summer racing will be anyway. It will be focused on base training, getting strong and not trying to have definite plans for anything because this is a quickly changing situation.”

How has Saucony supported you through the coronavirus crisis and your training process?

MS: “Saucony shut down and doesn’t have people in the office but we had a Zoom conference the other day with marketing and elite athlete management just trying to figure out moving forward the best avenues for things. Right now there’s a lot of interviews and stuff so they want to make sure that I’m well prepared for all that. And right now it’s extremely nice to have a consistent paycheck since I was let go by my barista job. I’m a full paid athlete by Saucony and being able to have that financial security in a time when it’s really difficult and not a lot of knowns right now in terms of when I’ll be able to race again.”

How did the IOC and the USOC ensure athlete safety as the coronavirus crisis was escalating?

MS: “Our governing body, the USATF, submitted a letter recommending postponement of the Olympics. I think that was definitely taking a stand for athlete safety.”

What sneakers are you wearing now to train and stay in shape?

MS: “My main training shoes are the Saucony Triumph 17, that’s a big one I wear to pound out some mileage. This new foam they’ve got on the bottom is incredible. I literally ran like 800 miles in my last pair and they didn’t even look that worn out. They’re super cushy and very supportive, I’m a huge fan of them. Truthfully, they’re one of the best shoes I’ve ever run in and I’m not just saying that as a Saucony athlete. And now that mileage is a little lower, coming off the marathon I’m trying to focus a little more on my running form, so I’ve also been in the Kinvara 11.”

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