It was around mile three or so that Tommy Rivers Puzey found a familiar face on Sunday, Nov. 11 during the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon.
He had caught up to Kellyn Taylor, who he sometimes trains with when they’re home in Flagstaff, Arizona, and decided to hang by her side.
Taylor, Puzey said, wanted to run 5-minute, 20-second miles, so the two locked in on that and ran together until the half-marathon and marathon courses split off.
Taylor, 32, who was running the half-marathon, finished first among women at 1 hour, 10 minutes, 16 seconds, and shortly after, Puzey, 34, finished first among all marathoners in 2:25:54.
“Every once in a while, I do workouts with her in Flagstaff and so honestly it felt like we were just back in Flagstaff doing a practice run,” said Puzey, who is a 2003 Hermiston High School graduate.
That pace felt good for Puzey, so once they split, he tried to hold it for as long as he could, which was about 22 miles.
Then, he said, his legs “kind of fell apart.”
It wasn’t anything they planned — in fact, Puzey was supposed to run the JFK 50 Mile next weekend in Washington, D.C., but had to nix that for a work trip to Portugal. Taylor was supposed to race Sunday in the Monterey Bay Half Marathon before smoke from wildfires in California forced the cancellation of that race.
“I kind of just readjusted and decided to come out here so we booked a flight last night, I flew in here this morning, got to the hotel at about noon, relaxed for a little bit and then headed down here, crossed my fingers and hoped that this would go well,” Taylor said.