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October 30, 2014

Tatyana McFadden


TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ This is the toughest marathon all year.テつ I run London, Boston, Chicago, and my last stop is New York City.テつ It is one of the toughest marathons.テつ You go through all the five boroughs, and it is constant climbing, descending, turning, and it's a very strategic race.テつ I'm constantly thinking throughout the race, from start to middle to finish, where I want to be.テつ And it's extremely challenging because, with the huge competitive field that we have, everyone is strong in different areas.テつ I'm a very strong climber, but a lot of my competitors are strong at defending.テつ So it makes it a very interesting race to see where everyone will finish.
And going through Central Park, it's very key for us where we are in the pack of the race and where we want to be at the finish line.

Q.テつ Aside from winning, what do you love most about it?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ You know, it's just a journey, a journey in training, a journey in the competitive life.テつ I started wheelchair racing for health reasons.テつ I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, was very sick, very anemic, and I'd never seen a doctor for the first six years of my life.
My legs were atrophied behind my back, so the only way I could get around the orphanage was to walk on my hands.
So coming to America, I had a lot of firsts happen‑‑ my first doctor's appointment, first surgery, first time going to school, and first time getting into athletics, and athletics was a way to bring health in my life.テつ It was to allow me to be independent and allow me to be a better me and allow me to be involved with the community.
That is why I first started athletics, and to this day, it still brings a better me.テつ It still brings health to my life, and I'm an advocate for people with disabilities.テつ I'm an advocate for girls getting involved with sports.テつ I'm an advocate for young children want to go get involved with sports, for anybody, saying that the impossible can become the possible.

Q.テつ When you ran Boston and New York and Chicago the first time around, how do you feel about it?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I can't believe what I've done so far.テつ I've done what nobody has done, able‑bodied or in a wheelchair.テつ I have pushed my body and pushed my limits not only of myself, but in the marathon sports, in the wheelchair division.テつ I'm so proud of all the efforts that I've put in and what I've accomplished so far.
All I can do on Sunday is to give 100 percent and to‑‑ just to‑‑ hopefully that New York will be proud and really just use the energy of New York City.テつ I mean, it is one of the best races, and it is one of my favorite races that I do all year, and it's my last one.
So I am just going to go out 100 percent.

Q.テつ What about Chicago and the races going on the last couple of weeks?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ Chicago was a really tough marathon.テつ It's an interesting race because it's a very flat race.テつ It's a very strategic race.テつ But I went out in mile four, and I ended up working away from the pack really early on.テつ I don't know‑‑ I remember thinking I hope it's not a mistake, but I had to regain focus and regain confidence in myself and in my training that maybe I can just push this marathon by myself, and I did.テつ I had a few scary points at mile 15 and mile 20 where the path was very near, but I drew the distance again where I won by a minute.
And so after Chicago, it's recovery week, and then the second week after Chicago is where we pick up our intensity and our training.テつ We did a lot of hill climbs.テつ We picked up our endurance where we ran 20 miles, and a lot of downhill work, a lot of speed work.テつ So it was a really intense week.テつ And then this week is recovery.

Q.テつ On what you have accomplished, no one has ever done, how do you feel about that?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I am so proud of what I've done so far because I have achieved what no one has achieved ever in the history of marathoning.テつ Just to be able to say that, I am so proud of myself.テつ And being able to push my body and push my limits and pushing the sport.テつ I love it, and it gives me a thrill, and it gives me a drive.テつ It's just unbelievable.
Just to have the support from the community, to have the support through media and social media, I love it all.テつ And to‑‑ and for the sport to be recognized.テつ Marathoning is smaller in general compared to football and basketball, and to be able to push those expectations, it's fun.

Q.テつ What do you focus on now?テつ What is next?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ Well, after this weekend, that's the last major marathon I'll run.テつ I will fly to Japan and do the Oneida Marathon, which is an all‑wheelchair marathon race.テつ So I will be doing that one.

Q.テつ Have you won that before?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I've never done that race before.テつ So this is my first time doing an Oneida Marathon race.テつ I've been going from the Sochi Paralympics all the way to now, just going, going, going.テつ So it will be nice to take a breather, take a rest, and enjoy the holidays because it will be Thanksgiving.

Q.テつ That will be your first break in how many years?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ It will be my first break in a long time, like a year or two.テつ So it will be really nice just to go home, enjoy the holidays.テつ I'll finish up my internship in December.

Q.テつ Where is that?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I'm interning as a child life specialist at Spalding Hospital.テつ It's where you work with critically ill children, and you're there for the emotional support of the child and family.
And that's another way for me to give back to society as well.テつ It's much of a different focus.テつ It's not so much of the focus of athletics, it's about focus on that, after a tragedy, we all face that life can continue on.テつ So being there for the child and the family, I hope that I can be an example and to teach that life can still continue after something has happened.

Q.テつ How long is your internship?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ You put in about 480 hours total.

Q.テつ And last question here, have you seen your mother since Sochi?テつ
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I haven't, just casually through e‑mail.テつ It's harder, like long distance relationship.

Q.テつ Is she speaking English, or are you speaking Russian?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I speak a few words in Russian, but just casual e‑mail back and forth.テつ I haven't seen her or been back.

Q.テつ Apologize if this has been asked, but what specifically about this course is going to be a real challenge, do you think?
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I think the challenge is that on Sunday it's going to be predicted to be pretty cold.テつ So that can be really hard on the muscles when you‑‑ it takes a while to warm up.テつ Of course, in general, there's a lot of climbing, there's a lot of defense.テつ So it's being smart in the race.テつ It's being really smart on to conserving, but still hitting all your strengths.
So for me, climbing bridges and knowing where I want to be in certain parts of the race, depending where I am in the race, but it's challenging because there's a lot‑‑ anything can happen.テつ A lot of climbing, a lot of defense, and a lot of turning, and I think that's what makes it really, really challenging, and I think it's supposed to be windy on Sunday too.テつ So cold and windy and you get climbing.テつ That can be very challenging.

Q.テつ And I talked with you last year about Team USA, the endurance rally, and raising additional funds.テつ You're the captain again this year, I understand.

Q.テつ That must have been pretty successful they're having you a second year.
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ I think it's really wonderful, and I am so happy that it has been so successful.テつ Running is a way that everyone can get involved, people run for different things.テつ It's just amazing to be part of it and amazing to be part of Team USA and amazing to be part of Team Endurance.テつ Any way to give back.テつ It's really, really important.

Q.テつ So let me make sure, so some of these folks are going to actually be part of the process and running in the race.テつ And sort of getting up with pretty serious athletes, I guess.
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ Yes, they'll be running as well, which is a huge commitment because it's not easy training for 26.2 miles, and it's not easy for training for the hills or headwinds, or it's really preparing your body, and it takes a lot of hard work and commitment.
That's why I love marathoning.テつ It takes a lot of hard work and commitment and all walks of life.テつ People come from all walks of life, and we're all on that starting line.テつ There are thousands of people that cross that starting line and are running for different things, or running for similar things, which is really, really cool.

Q.テつ And you were obviously in Sochi.テつ You had a very successful competition there.テつ How is it different?テつ The atmosphere and the whole environment and what you're doing seems to be so different in cross‑country skiing, than I think it is here?

Q.テつ How do you reconcile?テつ What's the biggest‑‑
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ Well, the atmosphere is very, very different.テつ Cross‑country skiing, I've never done in my life ever, and it was a sport I had to start over.テつ I've been running for years, and I know myself in running.テつ I have it like the back of my palm, and I know what my preparations are.テつ But to be thrown into a sport where routine is different and diet is different and racing is different and your technique is different, every‑‑ coaching is different.テつ Teammates are different.テつ So you're thrown into an atmosphere that you don't really know about.
But I raced for a purpose and for a reason, and it was a huge challenge, and it was‑‑ had lots of failures, and to the point where I was so close to not making the Paralympic team.テつ I only had three chances, and I did not do well on the first two.テつ So on my third world cup, I made the finals into a cross‑country sprint.テつ And with the time, that guaranteed my spot to be on the team.テつ So it was my very last shot before they named the team.
But going through that journey and seeing my birth family and seeing my adopted family all at the stadium and me skiing up to the starting line and seeing them, it was just‑‑ I mean, there's no words to describe it.テつ It was such a fulfilling moment.テつ All that hard work and all the failures and doubt didn't matter.テつ At that point, I made it.テつ Just winning a silver medal was a little cherry on top.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ It's going to be a really, really tough race.テつ Everyone's going to be there, so it's going to be a really, really tough marathon.テつ It has excellent features, and it's absolutely unbelievable what I've done.テつ Coming off the Sochi games, what I've done in Boston, London, and even Chicago a couple weeks ago, but this is one of the toughest marathons.
It's so different.テつ It's very, very unique.テつ You have different goals in this marathon.テつ But I love it.テつ It's challenging, and it's fun, and the support from the city is unbelievable.テつ That's why I really, really enjoy it.

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