Returning to Phoenix for the Rock n’ Roll Arizona Marathon for the second year in a row, Tommy Puzey had his eyes on defending his 2016 title. Learning of the depth of the elite men’s field, winning seemed less probable but his desire to do so only strengthened. Listed amongst the elite field were 2 returning champs, 3 Eritrean nationals, and a couple of fast Americans and Puzey remarked “The view of that starting list was more than I had wanted to take on.”
For Puzey, the difficulty has been to find the hours in his dynamic life to fit the training in. “It has been a struggle. Three little bears in tow, a full time job, full time clinic responsibilities in a Neurologic Rehab Facility, and a desire to have some sort of interaction with my family. It has been a combination of early mornings (more like middle of the nights), sleepless nights, missed opportunities, 24-mile daily run commutes, life shortening stress, and an attempt for some semblance of a relationship with my love Steph.”
To supplement his grueling and stressful schedule, Puzey said he relies on “OptygenHP, MultiV-PRO, and Ultragen on a daily basis” to assure he gets the most out of his training. He uses EFS for races or really long workouts when he can’t eat food. “I took a full flask of EFS on the start line and had another in my hand but dropped it during a jostle around mile 6. I felt the lack of calories hit me in those last few miles, but luckily that single flask on the start line, which were the only calories I had the entire race, was enough to get me to the finish”.
After ripping through the first 3-miles in 15:21, the pace backed off, the point in which Puzey took charge. Puzey explained “I hate games. My perspective began to shift. I was certain that I was going to lose, but if I was going to get beat by these guys, I was going to at least make them hurt in the process.” With under a mile to go, Puzey still doubted he would make it, weaving his way to the finish line and collapsing to the ground.
Despite the challenges to fit his training in and get a full night’s sleep, Puzey defended his title braking the tape in 2:19:57 winning for the second year in a row with 3:50 to spare ahead of second place Roosevelt Cook.
“That hurt a lot more than I had planned on, but I’m grateful to Roosevelt and my Eritrean brothers for pushing me into new realms of my own potential.”
On setting a sub 2:20 marathon PR, Puzey remarked
“A new PR for the day, and a glimmer of hope. 3 more miles with a solid pair of legs and maybe I’ll earn an invite to the starting line of the Tokyo Olympic trials that all my friends will be at 3 years from now.”
Rock’n’Roll Arizona Marathon Phoenix, AZ
January 15, 2017
1 Thomas Puzey 2:19:57
2 Roosevelt Cook 2:23:47
3 Naamn Weldeyohans 2:24:11
4 Russell Stein 2:30:48
5 Jesse Armijo 2:35:37