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Moily Seidel's surprise marathon bronze medal was forged in Atlanta

Molly Seidel was one of the least-experienced marathoners in the Olympic race, but she took home a medal anyway.

ATLANTA — American Molly Seidel captured a bronze medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday - a bit of an unexpected achievement given that it was only her third marathon run, ever.

With a time of 2:27.46, Seidel came in about a second ahead of Ethiopia's Roza Dereje.

If you were in Atlanta at the start of 2020, you could have seen Seidel put in an even better time as she clinched her spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

RELATED: American Molly Seidel wins Olympic bronze in her third marathon ever

Back in February that year, Seidel emerged as a surprising qualifier with a second-place finish in the U.S. marathon trials race in Atlanta. It was surprising because it was the very first time she'd ever ran a marathon.

Seidel, from Wisconsin, had been a college star at Notre Dame running long-distance races like the 3000m and 5000m, and won cross country medals in 4km and 6km events.

But a marathon? Is more than 42 kilometers.

She took to it, though - after her surprising success in Atlanta, she ran the 2020 London Marathon and finished sixth.

In between London and the Tokyo Olympics, Seidel was back in Atlanta - for the Atlanta Track Club's half marathon race at Atlanta Motor Speedway back in February of this year.

Perhaps foreshadowing her Olympic achievement, Seidel won the half marathon in Atlanta.

She said it was a "good day" after winning that race, and took note of the humidity - helpful preparation for humid Tokyo.

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