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October 30, 2014

William Bratton

Bill de Blasio

Meb Keflezighi

Tatyana McFadden

Mary Wittenberg


CHRIS WEILLER:テつ Thanks, everybody.テつ Welcome to the kickoff press conference for the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.テつ Very much appreciate everyone here today.テつ We're going to hear from some very important folks here today, two great athletes, leaders of our city and the leader of the race, and the president and CEO of the New York Road Runners, Mary Wittenberg.
First let's take a look at the screens and our "Get Your New York On" campaign.
[Video played.]

MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Good morning.テつ I'm Mary Wittenberg.テつ It's my pleasure, on behalf of our entire team at New York Road Runners and our chairman of the board, George Hirsch, to welcome all of you to our official opening press conference of the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.
This year we will welcome 50,000 runners and wheelers from around the world, from the very best in the world to first timers.テつ We will count on 10,000 volunteers and over 1 million of our neighbors to come out and line our streets and welcome the world here.
We will thank an expected 8,500 runners, who will run for over 300 charities and raise 25 to $30 million.テつ We'll especially applaud 1,700 runners in their bright green, Team For Kids uniforms.テつ Each of those runners is running to help us help and inspire schoolchildren throughout New York City to run and help us provide programs for kids in the schools and on the weekends throughout our boroughs, get kids healthy, fit, and excited about moving.
And we will be privileged to partner with our city agencies, our sponsors, and others to bring this event to life for all.テつ We're delighted this year to welcome Tata Consultancy Services as our title sponsor and year round premiere partner supporting our efforts in our community, throughout our community, here in New York City.テつ We thank everybody on the TCS team, especially want to give a shout out to the CEO, managing director Chandra, who's been a driving force in this year round partnership that supports and champions healthy living for all.テつ He will be walking the walk, as we say, on Sunday when he runs the race for the second time.
Also want to acknowledge TCS representatives with us today, the president of North America, UK, and Europe, Surya Kant and, the head of global marketing for TCS, John Lenzen.
Together we have re‑imagined this marathon in its 44th edition.テつ More than ever, we will capture the passion and spirit of the event and celebrate our city and everybody who plays a part in it.テつ We've got a new look, a new feel, full of splashes of color that to us represents the energy and the great diversity of our city.
Lady Liberty is front and center in our logo.テつ You'll see it everywhere.テつ And technological enhancements‑‑ behind the scenes, you don't see the partnership with TCS, helping us with our youth database and programs, what you'll see on marathon Sunday throughout the course, start and finishes, are better ways to engage with our spectators and embrace our runners.テつ We all together will be inviting everyone to join in and get their New York on, on this theory that a part of all of us, no matter where you live, everyone's got a little bit of New York inside of them.テつ Sunday is our day to celebrate that.
This is also the first time that we get to share the marathon with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.テつ Mr. Mayor, I know the positive benefit of this marathon and our programs throughout the year will grow with the benefit of your leadership, and we really want to thank you already, for your efforts in support of the marathon and your teams and especially your support all year round, because what we're trying to do in the streets are and in the schools and in the parks is help all New Yorkers of all ages and abilities have the chance to walk and run through healthier and fitter lives.テつ We really appreciate our shared efforts in that.テつ So thank you.
Without further ado, it's a great privilege to introduce the honorable Mayor Bill de Blasio.
MAYOR DE BLASIO:テつ Thank you, Mary.テつ Mary is doing an extraordinary job leading this incredibly complicated and incredibly positive endeavor that means so much to this city.テつ It means so much to everyone who participates, everyone who watches this extraordinary display of human will and human capacity every year.テつ It's become synonymous with the spirit of this city.テつ As Commissioner Bratton and I were just discussing, the phrase, we are unstoppable, is exactly true of the marathon runners.テつ It's exactly true of this city.
Mary and her entire team have done something extraordinary for the city, and it's getting better every year.テつ Let's thank Mary and everyone at the marathon for all they do.
[ Applause ]

MAYOR DE BLASIO:テつ Now, I think a number of are familiar with the fact that I like things that are fair to all five boroughs, and I can think of nothing more fair to all five boroughs, more equal opportunity than the New York City Marathon.テつ And it's not just the marathon itself once a year.テつ It's all the other events that New York Road Runners have organized all over the five boroughs, over 50 events each year.
And a real emphasis, I think everyone knows how much I'm focused on our schoolchildren.テつ The marathon, the Road Runners put a huge emphasis on our schoolchildren as well.テつ Free programs throughout the year for more than 120,000 New York City Public School students.テつ That is absolutely extraordinary and deeply appreciated.
I'm honored today to also be in the presence of two American running Legends, Meb Keflezighi and Tatyana McFadden, both who have done extraordinary things in this marathon and have shown us all tremendous examples of athletic skill and determination.テつ I want to wish great luck to them this year and all the athletes who are participating.テつ And athletes of every background sharing in this extraordinary event, an event open to people of all abilities and capacities.
I want to thank the folks from our city who are working to always support the inclusive nature of this marathon.テつ A special thank you to Victor Calise.テつ The Commissioner from the Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities, who joins us today.
Now, we're New Yorkers.テつ So from time to time, we brag about the bag that the things we have are the biggest and the best.テつ This is a case where no one debates we have the biggest and the best marathon anywhere in the world.テつ It is the largest in the world, 50,000 plus runners and wheelers from over 125 countries and all 50 states.
This year's race will have a very special moment in it because at some point the 1 millionth runner in the history of the marathon will cross the finish line.テつ That is an extraordinary statement unto itself of what's been achieved.テつ I personally am not sure I could get more than five miles.テつ I'm kind of amazed there's a million situations where someone ran 26‑plus miles.テつ So that is a testament to the human spirit.
Also this year, we add to the marathon family a new title sponsor and really appreciate their support for this extraordinary endeavor.テつ We welcome TCS as the title sponsor, and we thank them for what they're doing for the marathon and for New York City.
Now, as the race day nears, you can feel the excitement.テつ This is something that builds in the days coming up.テつ People in New York City become aware of something special happening, people here from all over to join into it.テつ There's a great feeling on the streets of this city.テつ And it's an extraordinary moment for us economically as well.テつ Our hospitality sector runs at full tilt this time of year, and it's great for jobs in the city.テつ It's great for our economy.
I want to thank Fred Dixon, the president and CEO of NYC & Company for the great work he's doing and his whole team are doing to support the marathon, to encourage more and more people to participate as part of their efforts and part of why the marathon has such a big impact on our economy.
Now, we are concerned always to make everything come off without a hitch.テつ The marathon's an extraordinarily‑‑ it's an amazing enterprise, but it's also extraordinarily logistically complicated enterprise, and it's something that makes New Yorkers proud to see how well it's put together each and every year.テつ We all focus, in particular, on the safety and security of our athletes and of all the spectators.テつ We have every reason to expect the best because the preparations have been so extraordinary.テつ We've learned year in and year out how to do it even better, and we have city agencies that are the best at what they do that are part of the effort from day one.
We always make sure we're prepared, and yesterday I had the honor of joining with Commissioner Bratton and the leadership of the NYPD and a number of other agencies to review the plans for the marathon, to talk about different scenarios, talk about how we would handle different events.テつ The exercise was led by Chief Jim waters, who's here with us today.テつ Thank you, Chief, for all you do.テつ It's an amazing thing to watch the thought process of our public safety leaders, to watch how experienced they are, how creative they are, how careful they are in protecting all of us.
And it was great to have representatives of other key agencies, not only city agencies, but the FBI, MTA, a number of agencies part of this and Mary and her team were with us as well.テつ So a really focused, coordinated effort to make sure everyone is safe regardless of what we encounter.
Now, of course, everyone is thinking about current events.テつ People have thought about the issues raised by the Ebola crisis, and I've said it time and time again.テつ There is no cause for alarm in this city.テつ We got great news in the last few days of Nurse Vinson being well and leaving the hospital.テつ We've said time and time again to New Yorkers there is no cause for alarm because this is not a disease one catches through casual contact.テつ In fact, it's a very difficult disease to contract, and the proof is quite obvious in what's happened in this country.
Well, on top of that, we have the best public health professionals in the world here in this city, keeping us safe every day, and their performance in this last week has been absolutely outstanding and has made all New Yorkers proud.テつ I want to thank all of them.テつ The Department of Health, HHC, et cetera, all represented today by Dr. Oxiris Barbot, our First Deputy Commissioner, Department of Public Health.テつ We thank her and her colleagues for the extraordinary job they've done in this extraordinary crisis.
So the bottom line is this is a marathon that has been an extraordinarily positive event for this city year in and year out.テつ The preparations have been careful and mindful always.テつ This year, the best professionals in health and safety have added their input to make sure things will go smoothly, and we anticipate a great, great day.
You know, something about the marathon touches us all.テつ It's not just the way we see the people of all nations gathered together.テつ It's not just the way the fans feel a closeness to the athletes.テつ That's rare in our ways of watching sports.テつ There's something also about the endurance, the spirit, the ability to do something that seems beyond the human grasp that inspires us.テつ The marathon inspires us.テつ It helps us see things in us, in ourselves we didn't even know were there.
And one of the great runners who won the New York City Marathon in 1974, Kathrine Switzer, said, if you're ever losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.テつ I think she's exactly right.テつ Go out and watch a marathon, but especially go out and watch our marathon because just the sheer multitude of people, both athletes and energized, warm, loving spectators.テつ It's something that makes you feel great about the human experience.テつ It's certainly something that makes you feel great about the city of New York.
Something else that should make you feel great about the city of New York is we not only have the finest police force in the United States of America, we have the finest police leader in the United States of America, and every day he does an extraordinary job at keeping us safe, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
WILLIAM BRATTON:テつ Good morning.テつ The mayor referenced unstoppable.テつ Mary, I don't know about him, but I'm definitely going to steal that word.テつ If anything describes this city and if anything exemplifies this city, it's this marathon, the idea of unstoppable.テつ 50,000 people plus moving through the city.
The mayor talked about the idea it begins and ends here in New York.テつ Those of us, whether we were born here, or like myself, a transplant here, we have a bit of an ego.テつ The idea of so much of what is exciting in the world, what is new in the world, what is representative of the best in the world does begin and end here.テつ And the marathon is an example of that.テつ The growth of it over the years, the excitement of it, what it brings to sports, what it brings to the city, what it brings to the world‑‑ excitement, joy, the whole idea of the human condition, the fact that somebody can wheel or run that distance in that period of time.テつ And whether you're a professional athlete or the amateur, that you all have the opportunity to compete equally.
So as we move forward to the events of Sunday, I think New Yorkers and all those that will be coming to visit and all those that we'll be watching can look forward to an exciting event, an unstoppable event, one that represents the best of what we as people are all about.
As for the NYPD and our sister agencies throughout New York government as well as the federal agencies, I think we can promise you and commit to you a happy and very safe event.テつ Our responsibilities are certainly crowd management, public transportation issues, whether the subways or traffic, and certainly in these uncertain times around the world, issues of public safety.テつ But we are ready.テつ We are very ready.テつ There's no police agency in the world, no government in the world, certainly in this country, that is better prepared to offer that, to offer to all those that will come to enjoy this day, all those that are going to come to participate in this day, to enjoy it.
My first exposure to this event was 1986.テつ I came down, was chief of police for the Metropolitan Police in Boston, which is very involved in that marathon.テつ And Ray Flynn, the mayor at that time in Boston, was coming down to run.テつ One of the thrills of my lifetime was to be in the lead car of that event and to go through 26 miles of New York, most of which never seen certainly, as a kid from Boston, I was certainly familiar with Manhattan, but the rest of this great city, those other boroughs.テつ As the mayor pointed out, the great thing about this is it begins and ends in New York, but it goes through 26 miles of this great city.
Imagine, though, being in that lead car and be very envious, 26 miles without a red light.テつ When does that ever happen anywhere?テつ Particularly in New York City.テつ So my wife Rikki and I are going to look forward very much this year, after we spend time at the Verrazano Bridge to be in that lead car and repeat that experience, that thrill of almost 30 years ago now, to do 26 miles without a red light and to give Ricky some exposure to what she has not seen, the crowds, the excitement.
For me, the most memorable of that first 26 miles was coming off that 359th Street Bridge and coming down to First Avenue, and it was just incredible, absolutely incredible.テつ It's like this event, incredible.テつ Nothing quite like it.
So as police commissioner of this great city, working for this great mayor, that we commit to New Yorkers, we commit to the runners, we commit to all those who will be enjoying this day, you will have a safe, happy, and memorable event.テつ Thank you.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Thank you, Mr. Mayor and Commissioner.テつ It's one of our favorite things, to enable you to see what you are creating when you go through these streets on Marathon Sunday.
It's my privilege, on behalf of our team, to introduce Tatyana McFadden of the United States, as the Mayor said.テつ Tatyana is our defending women's champion in the Pro Wheelchair Division, but so much more.テつ I think Tatyana is undoubtedly the greatest women's wheeler ever.テつ I agreed not to get into the debate about whether the greatest male or female, but I'm happy to talk about that after.テつ I'm a champion of Tatyana's.
Tatyana is the most decorated woman pro Wheeler ever.テつ She's the only athlete in history to create an unprecedented grand slam, winning last year London, Boston, Chicago, New York, and now she's going for the double grand slam.テつ That's pretty amazing.
Tatyana‑‑ why leave it at running?テつ Is an athlete in every sense of the word.テつ Her feats extend beyond the roads.テつ As many of you know, she won a silver medal in the 2014 Sochi winter games for cross country skiing, which was a new sport to you at the time.テつ She also was an ESPY nominee for best female athlete with a disability this year.
Tatyana, to us, you're a perfect example of a champion who's constantly redefining limits.テつ We're always telling kids, get out of your comfort zone.テつ Tatyana is a great example of someone who gets out of her comfort zone and pushes herself, most often to success, but often to failure sometimes, and she keeps on going.
Tatyana, we're thrilled to have you back and welcome you to say a few words.
TATYANA McFADDEN:テつ Thank you.テつ Hello, New York City.テつ Who is ready to get their New York on this weekend?
I am very, very excited for this weekend.テつ This is my last stop, and I think this is one of the best marathons.テつ I just ran Chicago three weeks ago, and it was absolutely an unbelievable marathon, but this is secretly one of my favorite marathons.
But I do have to say thank you, thank you to New York City, thank you for volunteers, thank you to public safety, thank you to the staff of the New York City Marathon because without you this marathon would be impossible.テつ It brings everyone together.
What I love about marathoning is that it brings all walks of life together at that one starting line, and people gather here one weekend, and you get to share stories and get it know other people, and that's why I love it.テつ I not only am addicted to running, but I just love the whole aspect of marathon weekend.
So thank you, thank you, thank you, and I can't wait to go out with a bang this weekend.テつ Thank you.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Thank you, Tatyana.テつ We're extremely proud to have over 400 athletes with disabilities.テつ I think pretty much by far the largest of any marathon in the world.
Next up, Meb Keflezighi.テつ Meb is part of the family here.テつ He is much more than an athlete in our race.テつ There's a relationship that we have that began many, many years ago.テつ We've always been there for Meb through thick and thin, and Meb's always been there for us through thick and thin.
He, in addition to coming here year in and year out, often in no matter what kind of shape, Meb has always supported our bigger picture of helping and aspiring through running and always is here, especially to talk to our kids, and this year is one of our Team For Kids ambassadors and is actively raising money on crowdrise.com for our youth programs.テつ But those are the kinds of things that we come to expect from Meb because we know at heart he too is about a bigger picture through running.
Meb was the first man, American man to win this marathon when he won it in 2009, in decades.テつ Now has gone on, I think Boston 2014 was one of the most important marathons ever in history, and for Meb to win that race, that's the stuff of story book and legend, and we're all very proud of you, Meb.
Meb's finished in the top ten at six of our New York City Marathons.テつ He's a three‑time Olympian.テつ He's won more than 20 National Championships in track and field, cross country, and road running.テつ To us, Meb's a great example of the ultimate American dream and part of our New York Road Runner family, as I said at the start.
Meb, come on up.テつ We invite you to say a few words.
MEB KEFLEZIGHI:テつ Hello, everybody.テつ Thanks for having me.テつ Mayor, commissioner, Mary, and the TCS family, welcome aboard.テつ This is one of the greatest events in the world, the biggest event in the world.テつ Now to have 50,000, it's just an amazing journey.
Where Nelson Mandela said once, sports unite us more than anything in life.テつ And that's what a marathon is.テつ I feel proud to stand here to be able to tell you that what my life has done for me in terms of sports.
Just like the two kids here, 26 years ago I ran all out one mile to get a T‑shirt and to get an A.テつ And to do that, you have to run 6:15.テつ The good Lord said, if you put in an effort, you're going to get an A or B.テつ If you mess around, you're going to get a F.テつ I didn't want to disappoint my parents who came from Eritrea to disappoint in their kids.テつ I ran 5:20.テつ He said, "You're going to be an Olympian."テつ He went to the high school coach and said, "This is the guy."
People will tell you things, but you have to live through it.テつ You have to perform.テつ You have to persevere.テつ You go through ups and downs.
Who would have ever thought that 26 years ago now that I would be running 26 miles without time‑outs, without stopping, at a five minute pace‑‑ to be exact Boston was 4:54, and New York was 4:55.テつ But through hard work, determination, and the support that you get from the sponsors, from the volunteers, from the City that allows you to be able to run without the red lights for 26.2 miles.
I mean, people love to come to New York just to visit.テつ And to have that honor to be able to say, you know what, I ran the New York City Marathon.テつ Biggest marathon in the world, has that added flavor to it, and I feel blessed to have done that in my career not only to just run it, but this is my ninth New York, to run the TCS New York City Marathon and finish top ten is huge.テつ To finish second is huge.テつ To finish third is huge.テつ But to be able to win in 2009 wearing that USA jersey was‑‑ of course Bob Larsen who started the run USA started Mammoth Lakes, California, taking on the world.テつ I felt I was taking on the world.
To put on the USA jersey just gives you the chills and the most gratifying moment just because sometimes you make the Olympics, sometimes you don't.テつ 2008, when the trials were here, I didn't make the Olympic team, but you keep the dream alive, and that was my Olympics, to be able to be in New York where I first started my marathon in 2002 and to be able to come back and win it.テつ You believe you can do it, but you got to do it.
45,000 people start and go, fair and square.テつ That's what the marathon is.テつ You start together, and you finish, and everybody feels a great sense of accomplishment.テつ Why?テつ Because we just ran 26.2 journey, and everybody has their self‑motivation for why they want to do it because remember somebody, because of health, or just somebody say, oh, you can't run a marathon.テつ You want to prove them wrong.
And I feel proud to be the ambassador for the Team For Kids.テつ Not everybody can be an Olympian.テつ Not everybody can be the New York City champion or Boston champion, but guess what?テつ Those 50,000 people that are running when I start at a young age, they set goals, persevere, time management, discipline, hard work.テつ If we can teach our youth that, we would have a better society.
I feel honored, blessed to have led the U.S. distance running and to be among the amazing, competitive field that they have assembled here at TCS New York City Marathon.テつ On Sunday I'll give it my best.テつ I always run to win.テつ It doesn't mean getting first place, but getting the best out of yourself.
And thank you for having me.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Thank you very much, Meb.テつ Now I'd like to mayor to come and join me to present the award of the first ever recipient of the New York Road Runner Ambassador of the Year Awards.テつ This award‑‑ as Mr. Mayor said, 120,000 kids we have in programs.テつ This award recognizes two special students in our youth running ambassador program for our dedicated participation, enthusiasm, and commitment to running.テつ Teianna Reed, a seventh grader at Archimedes Academy in the Bronx, and Miles Bernstein, a sixth grader at PS 321 in Brooklyn will share this honor.
Teianna started running when she was 10.テつ After a second place finish in a something meter race, she knew she wanted to be a runner.テつ She started our programs at a one miler and now she's a young runner.テつ She graduated to young runner.テつ She told us running is important to her because it's challenging and fun, and we try to keep it fun all the time.
Miles started running at age 8 as one of our Mighty Milers.テつ Miles has told us that running‑‑ he likes running because it's healthy, fun, and he gets to meet new people.テつ I've got a great opportunity for you today, Miles.テつ His running role model is his coach Nicoletta.テつ Are you here, Nicoletta?テつ A lot of kids running at her school, 321, in Brooklyn.テつ Nicoletta apparently always runs our marathon, and apparently Miles wants to run it someday too.テつ We're excited about that.
As I said, they're part of the young runners program, free for schools.テつ It's a cross country track and field program for kids who raise their hand and say, I want to learn more, and I want to run more.テつ Over 2,500 kids and nearly 100 of our schools participate in our young runners program.テつ Many graduate from our Mighty Milers Program, which is available for full classes and full schools throughout the boroughs.
In addition to this privilege they have today, on Sunday Teianna and Miles will be part of our first ever NBA All‑star Relay, which is pretty neat.テつ The idea of partnering with the NBA is to highlight really for kids how much fun running can be and the importance of getting out, sometimes competing, and always seeking to get the best out of themselves.テつ Tee Anna will be running the 14th leg of the relay, making the journey over the Queensboro Bridge from Queens to Manhattan with ABC and ESPN broadcaster Mike Breen.テつ That's an incredible like, Teianna, to go from the quiet of Queensboro to the roar, as the Commissioner just described, of First Avenue.
Miles will be running leg six of the relay with New York legend and Brooklyn native Bernard King. テつThat's really cool.
We'd love to invite Teianna and Miles to come up and receive from the mayor your very special awards and take a photo.
CHRIS WEILLER:テつ Thanks, everybody.テつ That closes the official part of the press conference.テつ The mayor is going to speak to everyone one more time.テつ Meb and Tatyana will be available after the mayor concludes.テつ Thank you very much.

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