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Monday, May 20, 2024  
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From racquets to running shoes, Puig makes her mark in marathons

Puig, who won gold in the women’s singles at the 2016 Rio Games
Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 3, 2019. Reuters
Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 3, 2019. Reuters

A succession of injuries forced Monica Puig to hang up her tennis racquet last year but the Olympic champion has no intention of putting her feet up in retirement and is instead aiming to run in all six world marathon majors by 2024.

Puig, who won gold in the women’s singles at the 2016 Rio Games, ran her first marathon in New York last year before competing at the Boston and London races in a seven-day span earlier this month.

“I don’t think I was ever this mentally strong when I played tennis,” the 29-year-old told Olympics.com.

“The fact that I’m able to push myself to these new limits … When you cross the finish line, you’re like, ‘Okay, what’s the next race? I’m signing up!’”

Puig finished the race in New York in 4:32:39 and showed incredible improvement in London, shaving nearly an hour off of her time to finish in 3:42:04.

The Puerto Rican plans to compete in Chicago in October before taking on the Tokyo and Berlin marathons next year and said running had become her “new life”.

“I’m just trying to continue to fuel that competitive fire because since my career was cut short, I still want to compete, I still want to succeed,” she added.

Puig’s time in London was way behind winner Sifan Hassan’s mark of 2:18:33 but the way she has taken to the marathon has prompted some to ask whether she would look to make a return to the Olympics.

“Even my mom asked me that,” she laughed. “She’s like, ‘Maybe you can consider this as like another Olympic career?’ I have to laugh. I’m like, ‘No, mom, I’m not going to do that!’”

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