It did not take long for Aliphine Tuliamuk to find air conditioning after finishing seventh as the top American in the warmest New York City Marathon since 1985.
She picked up her giggling 21-month-old daughter, Zoe, and placed her face directly in front of the cool air.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think it was actually as bad as I expected,” Tuliamuk said of the temperature, which reached 73 degrees when she crossed the Central Park finish line. “I was on point with my hydration.”
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She clocked a personal-best 2:26:18, despite ankle swelling hampering her build up. She estimated that she only had five weeks of training before taking the last two weeks to taper.
“I excel when the conditions are not perfect,” she said. “I rise to the occasion, and I believe that today that was the case.”
Seventh was the lowest placing for the top American woman in New York City since 2015, when Laura Thweattalso finished seventh.
“I remember going into the race thinking, if I could get top seven, that would be really good,” Tuliamuk said. “I obviously wanted more.”
Tuliamuk is beginning to turn her attention to the Olympic Trials in the first quarter of 2024 at a to-be-announced site.
She plans on running a spring 2023 marathon, which could be her final marathon before trials, where the top three are expected to make up the team for the Paris Games.
“Once the [trials] schedule is out,” she said, “we’ll work backwards from that.
“I think that next Olympic team is going to be really, really hard to make.”
Tuliamuk identifiedEmma Bates, Keira D’Amato, Molly Seidel and Emily Sisson as her toughest competition. Sisson broke the American record at October’s Chicago Marathon, clocking 2:18:29 to lower D’Amato’s record from Jan. 16 by 43 seconds. Seidel claimed the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
“There’s so many Americans right now that are doing amazing,” Tuliamuk said. “It’s like you just have to have a perfect day.”
Tuliamuk made her Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games. She did not finish the race, seven months after she gave birth.
“I really want to make the next Olympic team,” she said. “The last one, the pandemic and having a child, I never really got to represent my country the way I wanted it.”
Tuliamuk will be 35 in 2024. The U.S. Olympic women’s marathon team included a 35-year-old at three of the last four Games.
“I really want a medal for my country,” she said. “I think that I have a lot of running in me. I have a lot of speed.”
Bates, 30, finished 35 seconds behind Tuliamuk for eighth place on Sunday.
“Those hills were a lot harder than I imagined,” said Bates, who revealed that she did not look at the course map before the race.
Bates wore a matching snake ring and earrings as she made her New York City debut, one year after placing second at the Chicago Marathon.
“I think I’m going to take some more risks next time,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll do better next time. I want to be top five.”
It was a big 48 hours for Bates, who was inducted into the Boise State Hall of Fame on Friday. She planned on celebrating with a Modelo beer.
Tuliamuk envisioned a tamer celebration, including showing Zoe around Central Park and other tourist attractions.
“I’m really grateful that I’m able to do all of it,” she said. “I’m able to run at the very highest level of our sport and be a mom at the same time.”