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As the Olympic marathons approach, we’ve been wondering what the travel and final week in Japan has looked like for the U.S. team. We’ve been in touch with a couple of them, but communication has been scarce. Fortunately, we’ve been able to get a pretty good picture of at least parts of their lives by stalking them on social media.
For some, like Abdi Abdirhaman, we’ve only found the obligatory 5-ring shot that confirms here’s there. (But he told us a few weeks ago that he’ll play it cool and not even tour the course beforehand, preferring to react to the situation of the day and to what his body is telling him, not make a specific pre-race plan.)
For other’s, however, we’ve gotten a lot more:
Last week, we weren’t sure Aliphine Tuliamuk would make her plane when her coach revealed she hadn’t yet packed the night before departure.
This must be why Aliphine and I get along so well!!
— Ben Rosario (@BenRosario1) July 30, 2021
She did, though, with the whole family, and made her connecting flight.
— Aliphine Tuliamuk (@mamaZoeCherotch) July 31, 2021
We also learned from USOC coach Kimberly Keenan-Kirkpatrick that Abdi and Galen Rupp were on that flight, the only Galen sighting we’ve found yet.
Molly Seidel has provided a few glimpses: She had a few days at the Olympic Village in Tokyo before heading north (and confirmed the hard cardboard beds).
Then she made her way to Sapporo, where she posted about a speed workout in Sapporo with Aliphine and Sally Kipyego (only proof we’ve seen that Sally is in Japan).
Workout details from Strava: 2x 400, 4x mile, 4x 800, 2x 400, All on 60” jog rest, 5 days out from the race.
That run, and ALL the runs in Sapporo appear to be on a half-mile loop called the “Sapporo Motor Speedway.” As of today, we calculate Molly has circled the loop just over 100 times — so far. Insanity awaits.
Aliphine, it seems, has done even more loops, snagging the “Local Legend” prize on the segment called “Quad Smasher” that is half of the loop (although it looks like that’s just because she hasn’t been cutting across the middle as often as Molly, not that she’s put in more miles).
Jake Riley seems to be hitting his running in Japan a bit harder than other Olympians: He got on the leader board for some Strava segments in the Olympic Village before his trip north:
Jake put in a Monegjetti Farlek workout on the same little oval that the women have been circling.
Turns out that loop is the site of the Sapporo Winter Olympics.
— T.E.A.M (@troop_estes_mgt) August 5, 2021
Yesterday I went out to the only place the athletes could train & my first impression was it’s a dump!
I later found out its where they staged the 1972 Sapporo Winter Games.
The history was amazing & this old ruin had an inner beauty that was nearly missed by my first impression! pic.twitter.com/Kt2XoiPz60
— Lee Troop 🇦🇺 (@runtroopy) August 5, 2021
And, as for the competition, yes, the G.O.A.T. is there!
I am very excited to be here in the Olympic village in Japan.
It is great that we are able to run the Olympic marathon in these unusual times. On Sunday, I will try to defend my Olympic marathon title from Rio de Janeiro. I cannot wait to witness a wonderful event. Niko tayari. pic.twitter.com/8u0DX7jAN2
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH🇰🇪 (@EliudKipchoge) August 4, 2021