On February 29, more than 700 athletes will toe the starting line in Atlanta for the 2020 Olympic Team Trials Marathon, and the top three male and female finishers will earn spots at the Summer Games in Tokyo. Among the hopefuls is 31-year-old Bridget Lyons Belyeu, a member of the Atlanta Track Club elite team whose 2:31 qualifying time puts her among the fastest 25 women in the field. Her feat is especially impressive given that Belyeu is an amateur athlete and working dentist. Here’s how the top runner has been preparing for the event.
Where are your top places to run?
I really like the Silver Comet Trail because it goes on forever! I live south of Atlanta, where there are 90 miles of paths through golf courses, neighborhoods, greenways, and lakes, so there’s always a change of scenery. I love [technical] trails like Kennesaw Mountain but have had an ankle issue, so I haven’t been able to run on them as much as I would like.
How do you unwind?
My husband and I have three dogs, two pitbull rescues (Nala and Kenya), and one German shepherd (Zeus). We love to take them hiking and camping, either at Cochran Mill or Pine Mountain trails near our home in Newnan or in North Georgia or Tennessee.
What’s your guilty pleasure food?
I really don’t deny myself anything during training, and I will never turn down a margarita and Mexican food. I love BarTaco. I don’t eat meat or dairy, but I do eat fish, and I love their vegetarian tacos and chips and guacamole.
What’s your favorite local race?
Definitely the Peachtree Road Race. It’s not the easiest or the fastest, but the history behind it, and the support from the Atlanta Track Club and spectators, is so amazing. It’s like a big party.
What’s the best thing about running the marathon trials in your own town?
It’s super exciting knowing I’ll have so many friends and family coming out to cheer. We’re actually going to rent out a patio bar on the course so they can all watch in the same place, and we can celebrate together after.
Mileage: 80–120 miles per week
4:30 a.m. Wake up
Go-to breakfast: peanut-butter toast, coffee, and a banana
5:30 a.m. Go for a run
Typical route: 10 miles. Three days a week, she runs with the ATC at Piedmont Park, Cheney Stadium, Cochran Shoals Trail, or the Silver Comet Trail.
7:30 a.m. Get to work
Lunch might be a big salad with tuna, avocado, broccoli, and beans.
6:30 p.m. Get home
Run four to six more miles or just relax. Dinner might be salmon, broccoli, and couscous, or a homemade pizza.
8:00 p.m. Go to bed
Lights out between 8 and 9 p.m.
Volunteer with the Atlanta Track Club Saturday morning, plus a shorter run; long run on Sunday around 8 a.m.
Mizuno running shoe, $160, mizunousa.com
PowerBar Powergel, 24-ct, $37, powerbar.com
Pacifica sunscreen, $16, pacificabeauty.com
I don’t run outside without wearing sunscreen. It’s a must, and I like the mineral- based types.
Batiste dry shampoo, $9, ulta.com
I love dry shampoo because I can’t wash my hair after every single run. Batiste is my favorite.
Polar multisport watch, $500, polar.com
CEP compression socks, $60, cepcompression.com
*Mizuno USA partners with the Atlanta Track Club.
Spectator’s Guide to race route
Olympic trial runners will complete an eight-mile loop three times. The route begins in Centennial Olympic Park and goes three miles north up Peachtree Street and back, through Old Fourth Ward, and then along an additional 2.2 miles downtown, passing the 1996 Olympic Torch before finishing in the park. The race happens around lunchtime, so watch while you brunch.
- Men start at 12:03 PM
- Women start at 12:13 PM
- Fastest man to pass 3.5 miles about 12:20 pm
- Fastest woman at about 12:30 pm
This article appears in our February 2020 issue.