The training partners from Colorado plan to work together as long as possible.
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NEW YORK — Sharing the same goals, training mentality, and confidence, Americans Alisha Williams and Mattie Suver seem poised entering Sunday’s ING New York City Marathon. The Colorado-based athletes have traveled east ready to compete on the roads of the Big Apple as one, hoping to achieve success together.
On the marathon’s start line in Staten Island, Williams and Suver will have at least one advantage over the competition: knowing they have each other. Right now, the plan for both is to work alongside one another.
“I would love that, if Mattie and I work together. I think that would be comforting having your training partner and friend out there, and it would make it a great experience for us,” said Williams, with Suver nodding in agreement. “I think you do have that special bond when your all out there running a marathon together. It would be great to run together.”
Speaking to the media less than 48 hours before the race, Suver and Williams seemed excited and confident. In a way, Sunday’s race will be little different from the past few months spent training together under Scott Simmons as part of the American Distance Project in Colorado Springs.
“It’s encouraging because we know we’re well prepared. And so to have your teammate up there with you and your both working hard together, I think it’s just exciting and motivating,” said Williams.
“You feed off each other’s energy,” added Suver. “If one of us is starting to feel a little tired, the other one takes the toll for a little while. You can kind of trade off that way and it feels like you’re working together. I think that’s maybe where the excitement comes from.”
On Sunday, Suver expects to lower her marathon personal best by a large margin, possibly even 15 minutes. In 2012 she ran the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon just because she had qualified, finishing 123rd in 2:50:23, with no special preparation.
“I’m hoping to go under 2:35,” said Suver. “We’ve been hitting all our workouts right around that pace. Compared to my training before the Olympic Trials, I can’t even compare it. I was on my own and had no idea what to do, I was just doing the same thing I did for the half-marathon or 10K.”
Unlike before the Olympic Trials, Suver now has someone to work with: an experienced Williams, whose personal best stands at 2:34:58. Williams’s time goal for Sunday is to run low 2:30’s, the same as Suver’s.
Both Williams and Suver enjoy racing in the Empire State, and have seen success here before. This year alone, Suver was the first American (fourth overall) at the Oakley NYRR Mini 10K in 33:11, then first at the Great Cow Harbor 10K on Long Island in September. Williams was sixth at the Great Cow Harbor 10K, the eighth straight year she has finished in the top ten.
“I’m hoping to keep the streak alive and keep running well in New York,” said Suver with a smile.
For Williams, racing the ING New York City Marathon was two years in the making. Last year, she was set to run before the race was cancelled due to Super Storm Sandy. Instead, she ran the California International Marathon one month later in a personal best 2:34:58, despite heavy rain.
“You can feel the excitement in the air,” said Williams. “How many times do you get the opportunity to have a 26.2 trek through one of the best cities in the world?”
This is an opportunity both will share together.