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Molly Seidel runs Boston’s 26.TRUE Marathon

Seidel joined 200 other runners at 26.TRUE, an unsanctioned marathon that aims to celebrate culture and diversity in the neighborhoods of Boston

Molly Seidel Photo by: Kevin Morris

American Olympian Molly Seidel may not have toed the line in Hopkinton on Marathon Monday, but she did run a marathon in Boston over the weekend. The U.S. bronze Olympic medallist joined 200 other runners on Saturday to take part in 26.TRUE, an unsanctioned marathon designed to “amplify and celebrate the culture and diversity of the neighborhoods that make up the City of Boston,” as per Race Roster.

This year was the fourth edition of 26.TRUE, organized by the PIONEERS Run Crew, a running club that focuses on making running accessible and equitable for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community living in Boston. 26.TRUE has lower financial barriers to entry and no restrictions for marathon pace, unlike the Boston Athletic Association’s (B.A.A.) race. With no clock running, every runner gets to break the tape at the end of the race—the race aims to be a celebration of every runner, while also showcasing the “real” Boston.

Molly Seidel to tackle Canyons Endurance Run 50K in her ultra debut

Seidel joined the runners at 26.TRUE with her sponsor PUMA (who also sponsors 26.TRUE) after a challenging start to her 2024 running season—she was forced to pull out of the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in February due to injury. She has returned on the running scene and is slated to hit the trails (again) on April 26, this time at the renowned Canyons Endurance Run by UTMB in Auburn, Calif., which is also home to the Western States 100 (WSER).

Seidel has faced some health struggles since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, pressing pause on competition pre-World championships due to a sacral stress reaction (later diagnosed as a full sacral stress fracture). At the 2023 Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8, Seidel finished eighth, in 2:23:07, in her first marathon since April 2022 (she took fourth place at the 2021 NYC Marathon).

“This is such an awesome race because it highlights the neighborhoods of Boston, the people of Boston, and it’s so fun to be out here,” she posted post-26.TRUE on Instagram.

PIONEERS Run Crew (along with runners from TrailBlazHers Run Co.), recently made headlines last week after filing a lawsuit against the B.A.A and the Newton police department, asking them to “enjoin racial profiling and harassment against the running group and its members,” according to Boston 25 News.

The lawsuit follows controversy after the 2023 Boston Marathon, when fans at a PRC and TralBlazHers Run Co. hosted cheer station said they were unfairly policed during the race, writing on social media that the police’s message was “heavy-handed and unnecessary” when compared to police response elsewhere along the marathon route.

The B.A.A issued an apology following the race, stating that it should have created a more welcoming environment along the Boston Marathon course. In response to the recent lawsuit, the B.A.A released a statement, saying it had not had time to review the complaint while focused on creating a “joyous experience for all.”

This year’s 26.TRUE involved city support and licensing, and had Boston mayor Michelle Wu kicking off the race with a speech. “We witnessed the impact of a community-organized event through the 10 cheer zones along neighborhoods, bike support along the route, and a celebratory block party at the finish line,” 26.TRUE posted on Instagram, and Seidel’s post echoed their sentiment: “kicking off Boston Marathon weekend right.”

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