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Olympics

Glimpses of the U.S. Marathoners’ Travel and Training in Japan

We get a picture of U.S. Olympic marathoners last week before the race in Japan by following (stalking?) them on social media.

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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.

She did, though, with the whole family, and made her connecting flight.

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.

Photo: Strava

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).

Photo: Strava

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:

Photo: Strava

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.

And, as for the competition, yes, the G.O.A.T. is there!