The North Rockland (NY) High School athlete said that in order for her to improve on state-, class- and national-record performances in 2018, she would have to consider entering in professional races in 2019.
"Next year if I can get in more competitive races, whether it's professional or collegiate, I want to be able to test myself with runners who are faster than me," Tuohy said in June after winning Gatorade's National Athlete of the Year award. "I've been running a lot of races on my own, the 5K and mile. I was by myself. I think, if I had someone with me. It could push me to the next level."
She was true to her word.
Her first chance will come on January 26 at the Dr. Sander Invitational, where the high school junior will race in a professional 3K at The Armory in New York City against professionals Heather Kampf and Amy-Eloise Neale, who was a runner-up at the 2017 NCAA Division I cross country championships for the University of Washington.
The second year event, which is named after longtime Armory President and founder Dr. Norbert Sander, will run from January 24-26.
This race has been in the works for some time, though. Following her record breaking win at Nike Cross Nationals in December, Tuohy confirmed that she would be racing in a professional 3K.
"As of right now I'm planning on running a professional 3K in January," she said. "If all goes well and as planned, I'll be running one."
Recently, Tuohy opened with a 9:41.70 in the 3K at the Pearl River Holiday Festival in Suffern, New York, though a year ago she set a sophomore class record in the distance at the Ocean Breeze Freedom Games, running 9:05.26.
The time was less than a second off the indoor national record of 9:04.51, which was set by Bronxville (NY) High School graduate Mary Cain in 2013, and over five seconds slower than the outdoor 3K mark of 9:00.62, which Katie Rainsberger set in 2016 with Air Academy (CO) High School.
Tuohy, the national record holder in the outdoor 1-mile and indoor 5K, is capable of breaking both marks at Dr. Sander and, paced by professionals, will likely will go after that overall mark. At the IAAF level, only one woman has broken 9 minutes thus far.
The top current world mark of 8:48.92 was set in Boston by Elinor Purrier.