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Molly Pritz Ready For Return To New York

"The Big Apple" was good to her last year.

“The Big Apple” was good to her last year.

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NEW YORK  — Molly Pritz is truly driven. The top American finisher at last year’s ING New York City Marathon, Pritz has returned here after a whirlwind twelve months, capped off by this week’s arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

Much has changed since the 24-year-old crossed the finish line in Central Park a year ago, finishing her debut marathon in 2:31:52. The Pennsylvania native, who is now sponsored by Asics and living in Boulder, Co., and has another year of running under her belt. But most importantly, training has gone substantially better than it had in 2011.

“I’m definitely in a better position than last year,” Pritz told Race Results Weekly this morning, visibly excited for Sunday’s race. “Worlds better training wise.”

Before moving to Boulder, Pritz had been plagued by injury and illness since her marathon debut. Days after returning to running, Pritz began what would turn out to be nearly seven months of setbacks; a broken knee cap, a three-week bout with pneumonia, and a fractured ankle all would prevent her from running competitively during the winter and spring months. Frustrated with her recovery and bad luck, Pritz moved to Boulder in May, seeking a change of scenery.

What she found in Colorado was a training atmosphere complete with trails, athletes to run alongside, and elite sports medicine, all of which she had lacked before in her career.

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“It’s been great. Having women to run with, the support system with treatment and facilities, and the positive atmosphere of being around runners, it all helps,” said Pritz, now completely healthy. “Boulder has offered me a lot of options.”

Training with athletes coached by Brad Hudson, Pritz — who is coached remotely by North Carolina-based Mark Hadley — has already reaped the benefits of running in Boulder. In July, after only four weeks of hard workouts, she set a personal best at the Wipro San Francisco Second Half-Marathon in 1:10:45. As for Sunday’s race, Pritz hopes to run under 2:28.

“I’ve been training for 2:26-high,” she said. “I didn’t taper down for any races this segment, and I still ran the half-marathon about four minutes faster (than her 2011 pre-New York half-marathon), so I’m definitely in better shape than last year.”

Following a two week stint at sea level in Michigan, Pritz ran into troubles yet again, though this time they weren’t due to injuries. With storms closing airports in both Detroit and New York, Pritz chose to drive here, a fourteen hour trip with her mother Marcella. They arrived just before Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the city.

“We hit our worst weather in Michigan and Ohio,” Pritz said. “Pennsylvania was great and New York was even better. We were like ‘there’s a hurricane coming?’ Then it hit full force a little bit later.”

Having to stay indoors as the hurricane made landfall, Pritz resorted to the hotel treadmills, doing a three-by-mile workout at 5:30 pace yesterday.

“It was the first time I had done a workout on a treadmill in years,” she said with a laugh. “The hotel has great treadmills.”

Pritz wasn’t about to let a hurricane stop her from racing well on Sunday.

“It’s good to be healthy and fit again,” she said. “I’m excited to race.”