NORTH CANTON Once again, North Canton resident Tony Migliozzi went the distance.
The 2013 Malone University alumni defended his title at the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 50-kilometer World Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 11. Migliozzi, who also captured the inaugural event last December, won the 50K (31.07 mile) race in a time of 2:54:02, two minutes ahead of the second-place finisher, fellow American Tyler Andrews.
Migliori credited a tough summer of training for the win.
“Defending my title was extremely difficult, but it made the win that much sweeter. Once again I was an underdog and I just executed my race perfectly and was able to come out on top again,” Migliozzi said. “We had a hot summer and I was usually running during the hottest times of the day for all my important workouts. Once it slightly cooled off, I started layering up with clothes during all my runs and workouts. I think the heat training for Qatar was the main factor in my victory.”
The win capped an impressive year for Migliozzi, who won the Akron Marathon in late September with a new course record of 2:21.40 and followed that up by posting the fifth-best American time at the prestigious Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9 (2:19.39).
His former coach at Malone, Jack Hazen, liked the way Migliozzi attacked the course and waited for the right time to make the decisive push.
“Tony ran a very smart race,” Hazen said. “He was very patient and waited until there was about 20K remaining to make his move.”
Hazel noted that Migliozzi was logging about 140 miles a week in training for the event and called him “a machine” when it comes to his strength and endurance. Several strong Kenyan runners were in the field, but none finished. Migliozzi didn’t have a cheering section at the race, as none of his family members were able to travel to the event. Still, he felt their support before and after the race.
“I have such an unwavering support system though that I could feel them all the way from Doha. It was nearly impossible to keep up with everyone through, social media, text messages, phone calls, and anything else you can think of. I am extremely fortunate to have so many people support me,” Migliozzi said.
When it came to beating the heat in one of the hottest countries in the world, race organizers tried to find the best possible conditions by starting the race at 6 a.m. Despite the early start time, temperatures were still above 80 degrees at the starting line, putting an added emphasis on hydration for all runners.
The course, which was a 5K loop last year in the inaugural race, was shortened to a 2.5K loop this time around. What made it even more difficult on competitors, according to Migliozzi, was that the entire course was cobblestone. That uneven surface was “brutal,” he noted, and said virtually all runners struggling with it. As the race wore on and the sun rose, temperatures rose with them, bringing the heat to the entire field and causing many runners to suffer the effects of a hot sun and little cover or shade.
With Migliozzi and Andrews leading the way, the United States captured the team title in the event and after the race, took time to celebrate the occasion.
“After leaving doping control around midnight, a group of my USA teammates and I cabbed around for some local food,” Migliozzi said. “Things are open late in Qatar. We didn't leave the restaurant until 3 a.m. We celebrated with some Fanta's (orange soda) since alcohol is illegal there.”
In the wake of his big win, Migliozzi doesn’t have another race on his schedule in the immediate future. He will take the time off from competition to enjoy the holidays and while he will continue to log plenty of miles on the road, he’s happy to have a break. As for his next big goal after breaking the world indoor marathon record at The Armory in New York City last April and enjoying a record-setting 2016, there is one possible mark Migliozzi might want to chase.
“The goal might be to go for the 100K world and American record in 2017 at some point,” he said.
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