When you feel especially good and full of spring vigor, go to a local high school track and run a single mile at 4:58. Just one.
There are so many stories our of the recent marathon trial in Atlanta: The tight turns of the course, the wind, the hills, all made the 26.2 miles a difficult experience for all the runners. Molly Seidel who was competing in her debut marathon placed second in the women’s race. She was seeded 139 but showed her grit. Seidel works two jobs in Boston and has had her personal battles since running in college, but she finished strong and it is hoped she will be able to at least quit one job in order to train for Tokyo. The inspiration carried onward when I looked at the photograph of the male runners for places 2-4, it looked like a shorter race, perhaps a 10 km road race, the three were that packed—separated by three seconds. Finishing second was an unsponsored runner, Jacob Riley, in 2:10.02, and one second back, in the last qualifying place for the male Tokyo marathon team, raced a 43-year-old.
Abdi Abdirahman was born in Somalia but moved to the United States and graduated from Tucson High School in 1995. He ran at Pima Community College, then the University of Arizona, became a citizen in 2000 and has represented the United States Olympic team in 2000, 2004, and 2008 as a 10,000-meter runner. In 2012 he withdrew during the marathon race because of a knee injury.
So much inspiration in these two races: Seidel, who only qualified for the trail based on a half-marathon time, and Riley not even sponsored. So much accomplished, and then here comes the 43-year-old just one second behind Riley and three seconds in front of his biggest rival. Both racing at a 4:58 pace—not for a single mile, but for 26.2 over a hilly, windy course.
Ernest Hemingway defined courage as grace under pressure. What grace these three showed last week in Atlanta.