Last year, Molly Pritz came here to run the first marathon of her career. She left as the top American finisher, in 2:31:52 and 12th overall.
This year, seeded 21st in her return to the ING New York City Marathon, Pritz intends to better that time. Her training is the best it’s been, she told reporters at Wednesday’s athlete news conference. “I’ve been training to [run] a 2:27. I’d like to run under that but with the marathon on a hilly course, I’d like to be between 2:26 and 2:28.”
On September 3, Pritz finished second in the USA 20K Championships, in 1:07:21.
Coming into only her second marathon, Pritz, 24, said she’s been healthy for months, unlike 2011 when she was still coping with a stress fracture eight weeks before the race. “I’ve had a great build up,” she said. “I’ve been on taper and I’m hoping for a better performance just because I’m in a better position than I was last year.”
Pritz refers to her style, both training and otherwise, as “Molly Mania,” and her trip to New York is a perfect illustration. From her training site in Boulder, Pritz had returned to the Detroit area to come down to sea level before the race. Her mother was visiting her there from Pennsylvania, and when Pritz’s flight to New York was cancelled three times because of Superstorm Sandy, they decided to drive.
“I hopped into a car at 1 p.m. [Sunday] and thought ‘oh, this is only an 11-hour drive.’ It turned into a 14-hour drive [because of some accidents] … luckily my best friend lives in the area so I called her up and she knew some back roads, otherwise we’d probably still be out there.”
Pritz said that she’s learned a few things since starting her running career as a junior in college, and has developed her own strategy that includes training more often with women only. “Sometimes it’s hard to workout with guys because sometimes they surge and relax. It’s exhausting. Every once in a while a woman comes to town and it’s great to train with her.”
And she says she finishes stronger with a better fueling plan. “I think a lot of runners make the mistake about being really strict about their diet and that’s where they run into trouble, especially women. I try to eat 6,000 calories a day and, once I eat all the healthy things, I have a sweet tooth and I love French fries. It’s just a matter of fueling yourself; you have to eat like a marathoner.”
Her experience last year gives her the added benefit of knowing the course a bit. “I dropped some people off at the 15-mile bridge and passed a few more and then I was like ‘I don’t know where I’m going.’”
Photo by Kristine Smith
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg