After reaching the Tokyo Olympic 5,000m remaining in 2021, the following two years have been a whirlwind for Canadian 10,000m document holder Andrea Seccafien. The 33-year-old suffered a root meniscus tear in early 2022, then a stress fracture in 2023, and at occasions, contemplated calling it a profession to return to high school. She felt like she was lacking one thing and had one remaining field to verify as a runner: the marathon.
“The plan has at all times been to maneuver as much as the marathon,” says Seccafien. “I can be working the Tokyo Marathon on March 3.”
Seccafien instructed Canadian Operating that she needs to be on the Canadian Olympic workforce for the marathon in Paris: “The Olympic commonplace [2:26:50] is the purpose in Tokyo. I’d not be working the marathon if my coach and I didn’t assume it was doable.”
There have been plenty of adjustments for Seccafien final yr, who moved from Melbourne, Australia, to Portland, Ore., and again to Melbourne. She left Nike Bowerman Monitor Membership in November 2023 after two years of coaching beneath coach Jerry Schumacher. She joined the group with fellow Canadian Lucia Stafford in November 2021 (who additionally subsequently left the membership).
Seccafien says she left Bowerman on good phrases. “It wasn’t something with Jerry; I simply didn’t have a group in Portland or Eugene,” she says. “My life was in Australia, and never within the U.S.” Seccafien is the ninth girl to depart Bowerman Monitor Membership previously two years, leaving the workforce with solely two girls on their roster, in accordance with their web site.
When requested concerning the downfall of the Bowerman workforce and the timeline round Shelby Houlihan’s doping suspension, Seccafien mentioned that Gabriela DeBues-Stafford was the one athlete who left for that purpose particularly: “Nobody else thought that approach about Shelby,” she says. “Everybody within the membership has been open with one another’s choice, and I believe everybody left for a lot of completely different causes.”
“Once I joined, I believed working the marathon there would work with Bowerman. Jerry doesn’t have time to educate a marathoner; you’d basically be coaching by yourself,” says Seccafien. Schumacher took a job with the Oregon Geese group in Eugene, Ore. (two hours from Portland) whereas nonetheless teaching the Bowerman group. “It’s now a very completely different surroundings than once I joined.”
Since returning to Melbourne, Seccafien has begun working remotely with Canadian physiologist and coach Trent Stellingwerff, who additionally coaches Olympians Natasha Wodak and DeBues-Stafford. “I wished to search out somebody keen to educate me remotely and to offer me some stability in my life once more,” she says. “Trent calls the photographs on mileage, and I simply comply with his plan. Our coaching is predicated extra on depth quite than miles.”
Seccafien says she now does most of her coaching on her personal, together with her accomplice, Jamie, often becoming a member of her on the bike. “Like everybody, I’ve began doing double threshold exercises, and Jamie, who’s an train physiologist, will take a look at my blood lactate.”
Seccafien instructed Canadian Operating that coaching has not been simple. “There have been plenty of lows. I felt like I had retired at occasions,” says Seccafien. “I couldn’t put any load on my knee for 4 months to get better from my meniscus surgical procedure… I might solely swim, however couldn’t kick my legs.”
She says it was nice when she was lastly in a position to run once more, however shortly after, she bought a stress fracture –one other big low. “Now, I’m simply attempting to remain constant and take issues as they arrive,” she says. Seccafien is seven weeks out from the 2024 Tokyo Marathon, the place she can be within the elite area alongside Chicago and London marathon champ Sifan Hassan, whom Seccafien final ran towards within the 5,000m remaining on the Tokyo Olympics (the place Hassan gained gold).
The Guelph, Ont., native, who has made Melbourne residence for the previous few years, felt the 2024 Tokyo Marathon was the right place to make her debut. “In Tokyo, you already know you’re going to be taken care of, which takes out plenty of stress and uncertainty for me,” says Seccafien. With two spots on the Canadian Olympic workforce for the marathon nonetheless open, Seccafien and her coach assume she may be sporting a Canadian singlet in Paris.