On February 29, 2020, Aliphine Tuliamuk, who trains with the NAZ Elite squad out of Flagstaff, Ariz., won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, confirming she would race the Olympic marathon in Tokyo along with second- and third-place finishers Molly Seidel and Sally Kipyego. On Sunday, Tuliamuk announced via Instagram that she and her partner, Tim Gannon, are expecting a baby. Tuliamuk is 31 weeks into her pregnancy, and yes, she is still planning to compete at the Olympics.
“We are thrilled to announce that our baby girl will be making her grand entrance to this world next month,” Tuliamuk posted. “Tim and I always knew that we wanted to have a family; the goal was post-2020 Olympics… by mid-April we were convinced that there will be no more races this season, and the darkness ahead was too much, we created our own light at the end of the tunnel!”
The baby, whom the couple plan to name Zoe, is due early in the new year. That gives Tuliamuk less than six months to recover from childbirth and build mileage towards a competitive marathon in Tokyo. In the early days of the pandemic, the runner had reported her disappointment at the postponement of the Olympics, since she and Gannon had been looking forward to starting a family afterwards. Looks like they decided to use it as an opportunity to start their family first, instead. (She added a postscript to her Instagram post, for anyone speculating about her timing: “PS: we planned this knowing that we would have 6+ months to get ready for Tokyo Olympics!”)
Tuliamuk, who grew up in her native Kenya, attended Iowa State University on an athletic scholarship and later transferred to Wichita State University, graduating in 2013. She has been a U.S. citizen since 2016. She was sponsored by New Balance for a year before joining NAZ Elite and Hoka One One in January 2018, where she trains and races with fellow marathoners Kellyn Taylor and Stephanie Bruce, among others. She won the USATF Half-Marathon Championships and the 25K Championships that year.
Tuliamuk is also famous for her crocheted beanies (Allie T Resiliency Beanies), something that began as a hobby while she took time off training to recover from a stress fracture in 2019. Soon her friends started asking for them, and she started wearing one herself during races. Eventually she started selling her beanies on the popular makers’ site, Etsy, and has now sold more than 1,700 units. A few days ago, she posted that she wouldn’t be making any more hats for a while. Now we know why.
Tuliamuk will be the first Black woman to represent the U.S. in the Olympic marathon.