Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish runner (2012-2016), Molly Seidel, ran the race of her life to capture the bronze medal in the Olympic marathon this evening. In just her third career marathon, Seidel entered the race with very little fanfare and was not expected to contend for a medal. In addition to fighting humidity that reached 86% and road temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees, Seidel went toe to toe with a loaded field of 88 women, including the current world record holder Brigid Kosgei.
After spending the majority of the race in the lead group of 10 runners, Seidel and 4 runners were able to pull away from the remainder of the field with about 6 miles to go. With a little under 3 miles left in the race, Seidel lost contact with the two Kenyan leaders, Peres Jepchirchir and Kosgei. Undeterred, she continued to run strong until the end, crossing the finish line in 2:27:46, a mere 0:26 seconds behind Jepchirchir, the gold medalist.
Seidel became only the third American ever to medal in the women’s marathon, joining gold medalist Joan Benoit in 1984 and bronze medalist Deena Kastor in 2004 to accomplish the feat. After the race Seidel stated, “Just getting here already was a dream come true. And to be able to come out today against a field like this and be able to come away with a medal, with a bronze for the U.S., I’m in shock. I’m in disbelief.”
During her time at Notre Dame, Seidel became the first individual national champion for the women’s track and field program when she captured 1st place in the 10k at the NCAA Outdoor National Championship in 2015. During her senior season, Seidel would go on to capture individual national championships in the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championship and in the 3,000 m and 5,000 m races at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships. More importantly, Seidel has learned how to battle her much-publicized issues with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, and disordered eating.
Here’s to a continued successful career for Seidel!