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WORLD MARATHON MAJORS MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 12, 2006
RICHARD FINN: To everybody from around the world and our special guests, our race directors and our very special guests, our three athletes calling in from around the world, thank you for joining us on this World Marathon Majors conference call.
As you know, the World Marathon Majors series begins again, the fall season, at the real-Berlin Marathon September 24th. That's a week from Sunday. We follow in with the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon on October 22nd. We finish up the first year of the World Marathon Majors series here at the ING New York City Marathon. It's been an exciting year for us so far this year. We have a great leaderboard. We have some great fields and great races we're all expecting for the fall series.
Just to let you know who is on the call, then we'll get right to our principals, we have the four race directors from the World Marathon Majors series. We have Mark Milde from the real-Berlin Marathon, we have Carey Pinkowski from the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, Mary Wittenberg here in New York for the ING New York City Marathon, and Dave Bedford from the Flora London Marathon. Guy Morris from the Boston Marathon is unfortunately busy traveling today and is not able to join us. We have representatives from the Boston Marathon, Jack Fleming, on the call.
Our special guests today are three of the world's greatest marathoners who will be participating in one of the three World Marathon Majors series races this fall.
Talking to us from Ethiopia is the legendary Haile Gebrselassie.
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: Thank you very much.
RICHARD FINN: Talking to us from Kenya is Felix Limo who will be running in the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.
FELIX LIMO: Thank you.
RICHARD FINN: Talking us to from Mammoth Lake, California, running here in New York at the ING New York City Marathon is Deena Kastor.
We will now put on Mark Milde from the real-Berlin Marathon to make an opening remark and to begin the introduction of our athletes.
MARK MILDE: Thank you, Richard.
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this call which is kind of officially opening the fall season of the World Marathon Majors. I'm sure you all followed our spring races and know that Robert Cheruiyot and Felix Limo as well as Deena Kastor and Rita Jeptoo are currently in the lead. Of course, this may all change when we close our first half season in New York this November.
Marathon, besides moments of glory, a lot of times also brings tragedy with it, and sometimes this can even be said before the races have even started. This is the case of what happened in Berlin. We regret that our main contender for the women's field, the Olympic champion, Mizuki Noguchi had to cancel her appearance here in Berlin due to an injury. She fell in the bathroom in St. Moritz. She now leaves the women's field wide open. We are still expecting good times when (Gete Wami) of Ethiopia meets (Salina Kosgei) of Kenya here. We're looking forward to a very special comeback of (Sonja Oberem), who already has performed well in other World Marathon Majors and World Championships after giving birth to her son Felix in December. She will make her comeback this year in Berlin.
The focus is now even more on the men's race with Haile Gebrselassie competing. As he said in his own words, he's coming from his worst international outing performance in London. He still has to earn points for the leaderboard of World Marathon Majors. He has a great chance to do so in Berlin this year.
He will meet the second fastest runner of all time, Sammy Korir, also the fastest runner of this year with his 2:06 performance of Rotterdam earlier. He is the one who pushed Paul Tergat to a sub 2:05 world record in Berlin in 2003, finishing one second behind him. This time Sammy Korir will not act as the pacemaker as he did in 2003. He will really be part of the race.
I would now like to give the words to Haile Gebrselassie to chat about his feelings as we are coming close to race day.
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: Thank you very much. Yeah, you know, when we talk about marathon, marathon is not an easy thing. Now since London, I mean, I just expecting for Berlin. Berlin is always a fast course. Berlin, many athletes, you know, they could run in very good time in the past many years.
Myself also, I'm looking to do something when I come to Berlin. Of course, when I was in London, London was not that special for me. We'll see when I come to Berlin.
This Major Marathon idea, it's wonderful. It's create a lot outside. Athletes, they want to do something special. Myself also, I'm looking just to do this kind of things, like what happened Golden League. A lot of things for athletes like me and others. This is really, really a wonderful idea.
Well, I know especially I can do something there, it would be much better than what I'm saying now. When I come in September, this upcoming competition, I see in London this year what Mark mentioned, many big names in the world, especially Sammy Korir, I know he's second fastest ever. There is also more from Kenya, Ethiopia, around the world. We'll see. It will be very nice competition coming September 24.
MARK MILDE: We're really looking forward to having you here.
Following Berlin in the series will be Chicago. Executive race director Carey Pinkowski is also here on the line. The opportunity on this World Marathon Majors conference call. He will give us some background on his race.
CAREY PINKOWSKI: Thank you, Mark.
As you mentioned earlier, we're moving into the fall segment of our series. Obviously, by the participation of the athletes, it's going to be some very exciting competitions. I know we're looking forward to October 22nd.
Mark, this may interest you. We've made a few little adjustments on our route to make it a little bit quicker, taken a couple turns out of it. Hopefully we can put some performances up to rival Berlin.
We're very pleased this year. Our top three finishers are back. Obviously, Felix Limo, who we'll hear from in just a second. Ben Maiyo who finished second and Daniel Njenga, who has been a great force in our event, always has been one of our top competitors. We're very pleased to have that foundation and nucleus back.
Also Robert Cheruiyot, the Boston Marathon champion ran a masterful performance this spring in Boston. I had a chance to observe him. Also Robert Cheboror, the Amsterdam champ from 2004, with the 2:06.23 PR and Kipsang, 2005 Paris champion. We have a nice blend of very talented athletes that performed on grand stages around the world. Hopefully the chemistry of these individuals will set for some very striking competition.
We're looking forward to this year. As I mentioned before, this will be an exciting time for us. It will be the 29th running of the marathon in Chicago. We're looking for hopefully some historic and exciting performances from the athletes.
What I'd like to do now is hear from Felix on how his preparation is going. Obviously he's our defending champion. Had a masterful run in Chicago, tactical run, just a hair over 2:07, then on the Flora London Marathon in the spring, another just magnificent performance. See how he's doing, how his preparation is coming along, how he looks to the competition.
FELIX LIMO: Thank you. I'm prepared mentally and physically knowing there's some tough competition, with all the 2:06 guys I expect a stiff competition.
To me always I say everybody is in the race until the finish line. We don't know who is going to win. I hope the best for me.
Last year over in Chicago, I won it with a brain game. London was a brain game. Maybe also the brain has to do the same thing to work like last year. The of course in Chicago is the best. I liked it. Always I like (indiscernible).
According to World Marathon Majors competition - everybody is eyeing for it. Also I'm eyeing for it. Always I don't think money on my mind and thinking what will go in the pocket. I hope everybody is high for the competition in the race. I'm also looking forward for the (indiscernible). We hope the best will win. I hope to come to Chicago and do something good for myself. Keeping in mind I'm currently the man who has ran 2:06 many times and training before London, I had to treat myself. This time I'm very much cautious about it. I hope everything goes well.
CAREY PINKOWSKI: Thank you, Felix.
MARK MILDE: Good luck to both Felix and Carey in October.
The end of our first half of the World Marathon Majors 2006 and '7 is in New York. I would like to introduce you to Mary Wittenberg, the race director of the ING New York City Marathon.
MARY WITTENBERG: Thank you so much, Mark.
We are exactly where the World Marathon Majors would have hoped to have been when we launched this alliance exactly a year ago. Our races have only grown closer together. We had an exciting opening in Boston and London this spring. Now we're poised going into the fall to watch the very best in our sport, those that are on the leaderboard and those like Haile and Paul and Benita Johnson who are striving to be on the leaderboard. I think we've got star-studded fields among the three races.
In terms of New York, our men's field, we're looking to build on last year's masterpiece of a finish. We've announced world record holder and defending New York champion Paul Tergat. We've announced our best American men of Meb Keflezighi and Alan Culpepper in a significant debut in Dathan Ritzenheim. We're very close to adding one of the key protagonists in last year's story Henrik Ramaala and hope Stefano Baldini will confirm his recovery off his gold at European Championships will enable him to run in New York this year.
On the women's side, we have a spectacular field. I think this is Deena's moment to shine like never before, coming off her incredible runs at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and the Flora London Marathon, being the American record holder in the marathon, cracking through sub 2:20 in London. Deena's star is shining very bright. The fans throughout the United States, and we hope throughout the world, are anxiously anticipating her run here.
Deena knows we never make it easy. We have surrounded her with a deep and competitive field. We have announced our defending champion Jelena Prokopcuka. We've announced one of the most dangerous women or athletes in our sport Catherine Ndereba. I'm happy to share that the race maker the last two years, Susan Chepkemei, will be back. Finally, as Chicago will profile the race for the men's leaderboard between Limo and Cheruiyot, I'm pleased that New York will profile the race for the top of the women's leaderboard with Rita Jeptoo also joining the field to race Deena and others.
It's now my great privilege as it has been Carey's and Dave's, as Mark and Guy know it will someday be theirs, to announce Deena Kastor.
Deena, as I laid it out, is America's girl right now, and now has made her stamp on the international scene. New York to me is Deena's chance to really start cementing this legacy. Welcome, Deena.
DEENA KASTOR: Thank you, Mary.
Prior to forming the World Marathon Majors, these five big marathons have really set the foundation for other races around the world. I guess they've been responsible for making marathons such a popular event around the world. Millions of the people enter marathons each year. Unfortunately, the starting lines are limiting. If they weren't, I think we'd see the world competing on these stages.
Now that the World Marathon Majors has been formed and created, these races are really raising the bar for other races to follow. In doing so, creating great stages for us athletes to compete on.
I've had the privilege of being at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon twice and joining Carey and his crew there. Dave Bedford at the Flora London Marathon, being able to produce personal best performances there on two occasions. I was able to join Mark this past year in Berlin for the half marathon, but have yet to run the marathon there. Of course, a race rich in history at Boston, would love to join Guy and his crew there someday.
Right now my focus is on the ING New York City Marathon I'm extraordinarily excited about it. Us athletes are always searching for ways to motivate ourselves to get out the door and put in the training required for marathoning, whether it's to win a race or set a personal best. This time around it seems to just be competing against a great field of athletes. With the added World Marathon Majors jackpot, it certainly was not a focus earlier in any of our careers, but it's nice that we now have this added goal to work for.
It is an exciting time for this sport and for the athletes that are in contention for this prize. Really to see marathoning take such a great hold on the world, it's such a great sense of accomplishment for someone to choose to get out there and do it, it's a wonderful time for this sport.
Right now in the middle stages of my preparations for New York, I'm really excited about it. As always, the starting lineup is proving to be very competitive, but that's what us athletes do, is to rise to the challenge to compete against the best in the world.
Very excited about it. I look forward to watching all the races coming up. Berlin is the soonest, then Chicago, and competing in New York, to see how this first year of World Marathon Majors competition unfolds and to see the athletes competing against each other.
RICHARD FINN: Thank you, Deena.
Operator, we'll open it up for the questions and answers for the writers.
Q. Felix, I know you're the reigning London champion, Berlin in 2004, I don't have the result for the spring of 2005, but I'm just wondering, you have an amazingly consistent marathoning record at this point. Are you highly selective about the other kinds of racing that you do during the year? Do you tend to do much racing beyond these two marathons a year?
FELIX LIMO: (Indiscernible) consistent kind of marathon. I think my mind more emphasis on more (indiscernible).
RICHARD FINN: Carey, would you add anything to Felix's consistency and his prowess as a marathoner?
CAREY PINKOWSKI: He's probably the masterful tactician. Obviously the most recent races in Chicago last fall and in the spring in London, it was full of very talented athletes. He's an unbelievable finisher, sets the tone for the rest of the athletes. Obviously it's apparent to me and some of the other athletes they have to get away from him because he is absolutely magnificent in the last mile, last half mile, last quarter mile of the race where he really shows his athletic speed and talent.
For us in talking to the other guys, some of the athletes that are training, Ben Maiyo, Robert Cheruiyot, the guys in Colorado, they know they have to get away from Felix. His work will be cut out. But he's very good at the end. He's a very patient athlete, doesn't make a lot of mistakes early on in the race, really gears himself a great competitor.
Q. Haile, can you tell us about your level the fitness, how your training is going.
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: My training is doing okay. Since London, you know, I'm still preparing. I don't compete in any competition after London. Berlin will be my first competition after London.
I prepare well. I don't say anything about competition at the moment. I am just entered into the race and we'll see what will happen. That's the only thing I can tell you.
Q. Do you have any plans for pacing during the race, any time you want to do the half marathon in?
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: We have a pacemaker. Sammy also I think is going to bring his own pacemaker. Of course, when you come to London, it's not only the pacemaker. The course, it bring you very fast. I don't think it will be a big problem. It will be okay, I'm sure.
MARK MILDE: I can add that we will have for the first group, for the leading group, four pacemakers. Hopefully they will be able to do their job and the times that are requested, We will determine the split times on the day before the race.
Q. For all three runners, looking at the whole series, what's more important, a fast time, running close to a world record, your personal best, or winning the race and winning the series?
DEENA KASTOR: I think different times of the year create different goals for yourself. It's probably going to be a different answer for all of us.
It's been my dream since my marathon debut in 2001 to win the ING New York City Marathon. In doing so, it would put me in better standings with the World Marathon Majors final prize. My last two marathons being the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and the Flora London Marathon, my focus was strictly on running fast. The bonus came with winning both races, but my focus and training and in the itself was to run a fast time. Now that I've run these races obsessed with what my watch has said, it's really my focus now to focus on winning the ING New York City Marathon.
I think whatever your individual goal, you have to find that in order to put in the demands of training and to get out the door when you're tired and fatigued from the previous day. You need those strong goals to work for. They are highly individual for whatever the individual athlete desires at that time in their career.
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: Well, for me both is important, first to win and then just to run a good time. Of course, you know, sometimes, athletes, after they win a competition, they think about the time. As I told you, first my priority is just for a win, then a time. When I'm talking about time, just to do something fast or something good.
FELIX LIMO: To me, both can work at once. I can't control the pace since some people can work (indiscernible). If they run hard, I'll be there. If they run fast, I'll be there. Because if I don't do hard, I better go home.
Q. Deena, I know you went to New York earlier this year and did sort of a reconnaissance run of the course there. What were the benefits of that and how might it have shaped your training?
DEENA KASTOR: I guess as an athlete coming into a marathon, we have to do as much homework as possible. You get the added benefits if you know the course, you're in familiar territory, knowing the competition and the strengths and weaknesses that they have, then putting in the homework of training, knowing that the last 10 miles of the ING New York City Marathon are hilly and taxing. That's when the pace is normally pushed. It was important for me to see that part of the course and incorporate into training.
This past weekend I did a two-hour run making sure that the last hour of the run was over hilly terrain, charging the hills, trying to be aggressive in the later part of my runs so that it's mimicking the demanding of the course.
Everything is specific. These are the little pieces of the puzzle we try to put together in order to perfect our game and try to come out with another win.
Q. Mary, did you say Rita Jeptoo was coming in New York?
MARY WITTENBERG: Yes.
Q. Haile, you've been one of the biggest stars in this sport for a long time, on the track and now in the marathon. There's a need for you to focus on the work you have to do, the racing you have to do. One of the reasons this World Marathon Majors was put together is to raise the profile of the sport, which means you have certain public relations responsibilities, need to meet with the public, mingle with the public, cooperate with reporters. Do you understand that's an important aspect of your job as it were or do you find that to be a distraction from what you're really trying to do?
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: I don't understand your question. Could you repeat? I'm so sorry.
Q. Obviously your major function as the runner is to do the training and the racing. With this World Marathon Majors, I think people are trying to make marathoning a more well-known and popular sport all around the world. They're asking you as a star of the sport to cooperate in that as well. Do you consider that to be an important part of your job, helping make it a more popular sport, make it something both the media and the public understand better?
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: Yeah, I'm happy to help them. But, you know, at this moment, I don't do a lot of things. But, you see, we are athletes not only just to compete, also, you know, I mean we have to do something when they have an idea, to support this idea.
Of course, running is another thing. Of course, running is important. But besides that, just to do something to help the organizers, to help the media, to help something else.
At the moment, I don't do so much work. I hope in the future if people ask me just to support - this is not only for the marathon, it's good for the sport. I'm happy just to help.
MARK MILDE: Haile also did a great job for us. In the middle of August, he was supposed to run a race, a 10K race. He never made it to this race because there was an incident on the plane. There was a rabbit which somehow got into the engine of the plane, and the plane had to go down. Nothing happened. But of course Haile was also scared. We had another press conference with four TV crews coming up two days later. It was a big effort for us to persuade him, but he came and he made it possible. He was coming to Berlin, helped us to have this press conference, to have a good turnout, which normally you wouldn't have do if you were not trying to support the sport.
Q. Deena, we know this is something you're very much aware of. Not only is this a competitive series that you want to finish at the top of by winning the individual races, but the purpose of the series is also to make marathoning a much more popular and well-known activity with the general public.
DEENA KASTOR: Yeah. And I think all of us athletes appreciate when we're racing around the track in a stadium packed with tens of thousands of people, or racing through the streets of a great city, running a major marathon, and the streets are packed with millions of people. It makes the event so exciting for the athletes. To be able to share that with the people along the course, the people packing the stadiums, it's a special event. It wouldn't be nearly as gratifying or gratifying at all for us athletes to be winning Olympic medals or breaking world records on a track that didn't have a single person in the stadium or to have the finish line break across your chest at a major marathon and not have a single person there to watch it.
It is very important to have the support there. I guess that's why we're open to being part of discussions like this and to being at press conferences because we do appreciate what the media is doing to get our sport out there and to glorify it a little more.
Q. When you lock back at all of your gold medals, World Championships, records, what is the most satisfying victory you've had?
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: Olympic Games is very important, very good one. Of course, Olympic is something special.
Q. Of all your medals, which is your most important race when you look back at the Olympics?
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: Of course 2000 Sydney.
Q. 10,000 meters?
HAILE GEBRSELASSIE: 10,000 meters, Sydney Olympic Games. That's the competition between me and Tergat. It was something very special.
DEENA KASTOR: I would say the Olympic Games in Athens just because of it being such a huge world stage. My last two marathon wins hold pretty dear to my heart because of all the work that went into them. I feel they were very special moments, both in my struggle in Chicago and being able to hang on for the lead and also breaking that 2 hour 20 minute time barrier in London. Both very special moments for me.
FELIX LIMO: The best remember is London because it was a neck and neck race to the last minute.
RICHARD FINN: Felix, it was the London race?
FELIX LIMO: Pardon?
RICHARD FINN: It was the London Marathon that was your most special victory?
FELIX LIMO: Yeah, because it was neck to neck. Hard for me. Yeah, neck to neck to the last meter.
Q. Deena, how have you recovered from London? You raced this summer. Can you comment on that?
DEENA KASTOR: My recovery from London was great. I think when you have a good performance, it's much easier to recover from them.
Coming back, my focus for the middle of this year was to get on the track. It didn't prove conducive to my schedule. I tried doing some track workouts. I guess I was running slower paces in interval sessions than I do during marathon training. My training clearly was not there. We had a kitchen remodel going on at our house. Thought I just needed to get away from that. Went overseas to get into a routine there, get in some races. Things just weren't coming around at all.
I had a tight back, maybe some sciatic nerve problems. Took a few weeks off, came back home here to Mammoth Lake. Went through therapy of acupuncture, chiropractic appointments. Within one week my training just turned around. I'm now right on pace where I would want to be for my preparations for New York.
I feel very grateful to have had the expertise around me and smart coach who told me to take some time off and really got me back to a healthy, fit preparation for New York.
My track season didn't go how I would have liked it to, but I didn't want it to jeopardize any of my New York preparation. We erred on the side of caution for track season and came back home to prepare for this race.
Q. As you have developed as an athlete coming from cross-country, do you see yourself as a marathon specialist?
DEENA KASTOR: I guess I've become a marathoner. I hated to call myself a marathoner because that meant excluding other things. In a sport where you can go down so many different avenues of cross-country, track, road racing, then marathoning, it's impossible to do all of them at the same time because they do take such specific type of training.
I have moved more into marathoning as I've gotten older. It doesn't mean I don't miss cross-country terribly and miss the track. I've tried to get back on the track the past two summers. It just hasn't worked out.
It is hard to kind of push the other denominations of our sport aside to focus on this. I love the training of marathoning and the races that have been put together, the fact that 40,000 people of all different fitness levels can be on the starting line and all go through the same things when we're out there is a pretty incredible experience both for the elite runner and for the first-time marathoner.
Q. Felix, what is absolutely the most important thing, a fast time or winning the race? In general, with the importance of winning in a world series, is that going to change the dynamic in Chicago which is known for its fast times?
FELIX LIMO: Fast time is the best one because some of the times (indiscernible). You never know who is fast in the kick till the last mile or the last meter. I can try a fast time.
CAREY PINKOWSKI: Looking at the results in Chicago the past few years, anyone that has won has run fast. I think they go hand-in-hand, compared to maybe Boston or New York where experience, as Deena talked about, plays a big factor. There is a great deal of strategy. In Berlin, or Chicago, it's flat out fast running. We set it up pretty quickly. That's the mindset of the athletes that come here.
It's just whether or not that energy is carried to later stages of the race and the athletes commit to it. I think they go hand-in-hand.
Q. When the race directors are at a cocktail party explaining the series to anyone who doesn't know about running or marathoning, how do you sum it up in a simple way?
CAREY PINKOWSKI: Basically our relationship collectively as a group, we aspire to create something that elevated the profile of the sport and connecting our five events. It was obvious a certain amount of visibility would pop up in London and Boston, would kind of ebb, would drop off. What we were trying to do is connect these great events and these great athletes.
We took bits and pieces from our sports to try to create the series, maybe a little bit of a NASCAR, maybe some of the tennis pieces or something like that, create some incentive.
It was just really the object was to create visibility and connect the events.
MARY WITTENBERG: I'd add, it's our sport's World Series, Grand Slam. It's our Star Maker Alliance. As Carey said, we wanted to elevate these athletes as they perform race to race, major city to major city.
RICHARD FINN: Dave, would you like to add anything?
DAVE BEDFORD: As the expert of cocktail parties, I'm certainly happy to add the interesting thing about explaining the World Marathon Majors concept is that in truth, in its first year, we have the largest mountain to climb. We have to explain it is to people what we are trying to achieve. Having done that, the first races happened, Boston happened, London happened. Almost nothing happens immediately because the series needs one year going through in order to start having significance.
We're starting to see the significance coming now with runners starting to run for the second time in a year, so it will be fascinating to see what happens with Deena and Felix, et cetera.
But I think at the end of the first year, and remember after this we always have a series coming to an end in the following year because the series leapfrog themselves. I think it would be easier to explain to people and it will be more readily understood by the public generally, and of course the prize of $500,000 for the top man and woman on an annual basis once it's going will also concentrate people's minds.
I just want to wish my colleagues in Berlin, Chicago and New York the best of luck with their events. We, of course, are in the quiet time of the year in London. I know Guy feels the same way. It's always hard work when you're in there deep and the event is going to happen. I wish you luck. I'm delighted I'm at the other end of the year at the moment.
Q. Mary, there's been questions asked today about what is more important, a fast time, a win, a combination thereof. Carey talked about how in Chicago fast times, the win is important. That's what the newspapers pick up. What is your real goal? Do you want to see a column in Financial Times about the success of the majors? Is that the kind of thing that's going to get the sport recognition, bring in sponsors from places we haven't thought of in the past?
MARY WITTENBERG: We want to see it all. In New York it's all about the title, it's all about the most competitive race we can see. I think nothing can promote the sport better than a finish like last year's where Paul Tergat out leaned Henrik Ramaala. That was seen around the world. It was a kind of moment no matter who you are, if you saw it, picked up the newspaper and heard about it, people talked about it at the water cooler the next day.
At its core, we're a sport first. I think that's the best way. Then, of course, we do all we can to mine the great human interest stories we have, the great business story we are. But I think at the end of the day, nobody can promote the sport better than the athletes based on their performance.
RICHARD FINN: I think that brings to a conclusion this very special World Marathon Majors conference call. Instead of going around the table, we'll go around the globe. Mark, any final comment you would like to make as we prepare for your race next Sunday?
MARK MILDE: Not really. I mean, I hope you bring good weather. I know Haile doesn't like the rain. Please bring some sunshine. We're looking forward to a running festival with 40,000 thousand happy runners.
RICHARD FINN: Carey in Chicago?
CAREY PINKOWSKI: Very excited about the fall segment of the series. We'll be in Berlin next week, get to see Haile run in that great event, spend some time with our colleagues in Germany.
MARY WITTENBERG: I think there's a mystique to the marathon that makes it better than any event in the world. That's the case from the athletes that are the best in the world to the over 100,000 runners of all ages and abilities that will be on our courses this fall. What we're all trying to do is add as much glory as we can to the guts and determination that it takes to win one of these majors. This is a great start. We're honored to have the athletes stepping to the line in our respective races this fall.
RICHARD FINN: Again, to all of our special guests, Felix, Haile Gebrselassie, Deena, we thank you for taking your time out from your training. We wish you best of luck this fall.
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