Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Running in her first-ever sanctioned marathon, Molly Seidel took second place at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials to secure one of three spots on the U.S. women's team for the Tokyo Games.

The backdrop: Seidel was a four-time champion at Notre Dame, but she'd been off the grid since 2016. She revealed her battles with an eating disorder and other mental and physical ailments in a lengthy piece on Runner's World.

  • Following her performance, Seidel kept repeating the same words over and over while shaking her head: "What is happening?"

The big picture: The event played out amid an arms race in shoe technology.

  • All three male qualifiers and the third-place women's finisher wore shoes from Nike's controversial Vaporfly line.
  • The women's winner, Aliphine Tulimuk, wore shoes made by the French brand Hoka One One, while Seidel wore Sauconys.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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