FEBRUARY 19, 2021 - ATLANTA -- One-year after making history at the unforgettable 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon, Olympian Molly Seidel returns to Atlanta to headline a fast field for next Sunday's half marathon race at Atlanta's Marathon Weekend.
Seidel, who placed second at the Trials to qualify for Team USA in her debut marathon, will not have to revisit the hills she conquered to secure her trip to Tokyo. This year's race moves to mostly flat Atlanta Motor Speedway where strict COVID-19 safety measures will be implemented.
Atlanta Track Club has recruited two pacers to run Seidel's goal pace of 1:08 to 1:09. Seidel set a personal best of 2:25:13 at the London Marathon last fall. Last month, she lowered her half marathon personal best to 1:09:19 at the Vegas Gold Elite Half Marathon in Nevada.
Seidel likely won't be alone up front as two-time Olympian Eilish McColgan of Great Britain will make her debut at the 13.1-mile distance. McColgan has already been named to the British team in Tokyo where she will run the 5,000m. Last year, she announced a move to the marathon and had planned to run her first half in the United Arab Emirates last month, but that race was canceled. McColgan helped pace Seidel during her race in London.
The women's half marathon field also includes 2017 U.S. Half Marathon Champion Natosha Rogers who will attempt to run under 1:10 for the first time in her career. She will be joined by her Hanson-Brooks teammates Anne-Marie Blaney and Olivia Pratt. The men's half marathon is headlined by Matt Llano who holds a personal best of 1:01:47. The entire field is listed below.
The 2021 Atlanta's Marathon Weekend, which also features sub-elite marathons and an all-comers 5K, half marathon and marathon, is being held with strict COVID-19 safety measures in place. Besides moving to the event to the privately-owned Atlanta Motor Speedway, all elite athletes will be required to present two negative COVID-19 tests in the week prior to the race. All participants, volunteers, spectators and staff will undergo health screening before entering the venue. Athletes and participants in all races will be kept six feet apart in the start corrals with face coverings mandated for all attendees at all times while not racing. The all-comers races have been reduced in capacity by 50% from 2020. All races will start in waves which will go off every five minutes to reduce on-course congestion.
"A year after the excitement, pomp and circumstance of the marathon trials and America's Marathon Weekend, we find ourselves putting on a very different event," said Rich Kenah, Executive Director of Atlanta Track Club. "Safety has always been a top priority at Atlanta Track Club and in 2021 you will see that on full display at Atlanta Motor Speedway."
Atlanta's Marathon Weekend will be held February 27 - 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. The 5K is scheduled for Saturday evening and the half marathon and marathon take place on Sunday morning. Kids races will be held throughout the weekend. Participants also have the option to take part in the Virtual Publix Atlanta Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K. Registration information, course maps and more details on COVID-19 safety measures can be found here. Updates on the elite races will be provided on Atlanta Track Club's social media accounts.
Women's Half Marathon
51:38 (10 Miles)
57:42 (10 Miles)
55:41 (10 Miles)
Men's Half Marathon
48:57 (10 Mile)
56:57 (10 Mile)
Photo by Dan McCauley
Photo by Dan McCauley