How good of a runner is Molly Friel? Well, she ran a marathon in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 57 seconds. At a 6:15 min/mile pace, that’s incredibly fast, but once you realize she’s 50 years old and clocking that kind of time, it’s simply jaw-dropping.
Friel ran the sub-2:45 race at the California International Marathon in December, and subsequently qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.
The part-time legal secretary from Fresno, California became the second-oldest woman to ever qualify for the marathon trials.
“She’s got grit, you know?” Ian Torrence, Friel’s coach, told Runner’s World. “She knows how to push through the pain.”
The remarkable 50-year-old runner isn’t your typical elite runner either. She doesn’t stretch much, doesn’t cross-train, and could easily make cereal her dinner for the night. She simply does what works for her, and that means running 90 to 100 miles a week.
— molly friel (@FrielMolly) August 7, 2016
According to the Fresno Bee, Friel ran in high school but stopped competing in college. She picked the sport back up in her mid-20s, and at 36 years old qualified for the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials, where she placed 87th out of107 runners.
Then at 47 years old, she qualified for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, where she ran a 2:51:17 putting her in 74th place out of 205 competitors.
As for whether she goes for it again at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials remains to be seen. In the meantime, she’ll continue running simply because it’s fun and it gives her a break in a high-demand world.
“The best thing to me is going for a run and saying “Good Morning!” to everyone I pass. If I see a dog – I’ll stop and love it up before continuing on,” she told Free Play. “I love hearing the birds chirping and the leaves blowing in the trees. Enjoy every minute of the freedom you have from all the technology we have now and just enjoy being in the present.”
She’s not an “old” runner, but she certainly takes an old-school approach. What’s not to love about that?