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October 30, 2015

Lelisa Desisa

New York City, New York

LELISA DESISA: I don't know what it was, but in addition to everything else, it was very, very cold.

Q. At the World Championships, you were seventh. How have you recovered since then? How are you feeling?
LELISA DESISA: I was No.7. After that, I take a recovery for one week. After that, I prepare myself for New York. I take good recovery.

Q. How has the preparation gone?
LELISA DESISA: Still now I am very ready to win. I don't know what will happen on Sunday.

Q. Are you coming in with a particular strategy as to when you're going to break?
LELISA DESISA: I have a tactic myself. We will see in the race on Saturday. I can't talk about it for certain.

Q. This is your fourth marathon of the year. A lot of the guys only run two. Does that mean that it's too many, that you're not on the very best for Sunday?
LELISA DESISA: Yeah, this year I run four marathons, I know, but I did well training. I'm ready every time. I did four marathons this year, and for this also, I am ready.

Q. [No microphone]?
LELISA DESISA: Yeah, it is encouraging me to win.

Q. And days when you run, days when you race, do you have any good luck charms? Anything you have to be wearing or have to bring you luck?
LELISA DESISA: No. Only the cross for me.

Q. You always wear a cross when you race?

Q. Meb says he's run 100,000 miles. How many miles have you run in your career?
LELISA DESISA: I don't measure.

Q. Lelisa, what do you remember about last year coming down the finish stretch with Wilson?
LELISA DESISA: I was hoping to win. That would have made me happy. But I was sad that that didn't happen.

Q. Not many people have won the Boston and New York City Marathon in the same year, and you could. Is that extra motivation?

Q. Would that be running through your mind at all, the extra motivation to try to be champion of both?
LELISA DESISA: Yes. 100 percent.

Q. What do you think of Wilson and Geoffrey?
LELISA DESISA: We'll see on Sunday.

Q. How many times have you been in New York, and how does it feel to be here?
LELISA DESISA: Three times.

Q. So you've competed in New York Marathons three times?

Q. This is your third time?

Q. How does it feel to be back here, and how do you prepare for the New York City Marathon?
LELISA DESISA: Last year I'm here, I am second place. So I know the course. I saw the course. For that, I am ready. I did good training. I'm ready to win.

Q. So when you say the course in New York City, is it different from any other training courses you train on normally? And how do you train differently for it?
LELISA DESISA: New York City is better. There are a lot of trees around the race.

Q. So you are going to go up against formidable runners. Is that something that keeps you busy, or you don't think about that at all? About Wilson, about Geoffrey when you're running?
LELISA DESISA: No, during the race you can't decide everything. You really can't say who's strong, who's not. A race decides that.

Q. Are you in good shape for Sunday?
LELISA DESISA: Yeah, I think so.

Q. My last question, as a runner, who do you run for? Is it for yourself or for a bigger cause?
LELISA DESISA: For myself.

Q. I can't imagine. I've never run the marathon, but it's very hard to do. When you want to stop running, is there any time that you want to stop running and you think of somebody or something?
LELISA DESISA: No, I run continuously.

Q. Why did you decide to become a runner?
LELISA DESISA: Because I really like it.

Q. When did you start running?
LELISA DESISA: It's difficult to say because I grew up in the countryside.

Q. And you love it?

Q. How is your training going for the race?
LELISA DESISA: Still good.

Q. And did you take any time off after Beijing? Any time off?
LELISA DESISA: Only one week.

Q. Did you feel okay when you started up again?

Q. This is your fourth marathon of the year. Do you think that's going to be a problem?
LELISA DESISA: No problem.

Q. It won't be a problem?

Q. Why do you think it won't be a problem? Why do you think you can come back so quickly?
LELISA DESISA: Because I have been training well. What I saw in my training, I discussed with my coach. I am better in shape. When I was in shape, I needed to compete in a race.

Q. How do you feel compared to New York last year? Do you feel you're in better shape than New York last year or worse?
LELISA DESISA: Can't say now better this year, better last year. We will see on Sunday. After that, we'll decide this year.

Q. How do you feel? Last year you were so close to winning. Do you still think about that a lot?

Q. Could you have done anything differently? When you look back, it's always easy to say change afterwards. If you look back at the race, oh, I should have done that as opposed to waiting. You waited. Kipsang tried to make two very strong moves in Central Park, and you answered. You never tried to go in front until the very end. Could you change anything in how you ran last year now that you look back?
LELISA DESISA: No. But I will change.

Q. What will you change?
LELISA DESISA: We will see on Sunday.

Q. Were you happy with your performance in Beijing?

Q. Why?
LELISA DESISA: It's very hot.

Q. Humid?
LELISA DESISA: Humidity high. Not good for me.

Q. No good for marathon running?

Q. Did you change‑‑ how much did you have to rest after World Championships? And normally, for instance after Boston, how long did you rest after Boston?

Q. So now from one month rest after Boston to one week's rest?

Q. So there's a slight difference in preparation with that extra marathon in the World Championships.

Q. You rested one week after Beijing, one month after Boston. Did you have to change your training in any way to‑‑ because the distance between Beijing and New York is small.
LELISA DESISA: Yes, I was training the same, but I have after Beijing, when I enter into the training, normal training, I'm okay. Then I continue the same as before.

Q. But before Beijing, you knew you were coming to New York City?

Q. So you prepared for two races around the same time?

Q. Did you do extra volume or more running in preparation for Beijing knowing you were going to have to run another marathon in New York?

Q. Last year when you bumped Kipsang with your hand, was that an accident, or were you trying to send him a message?
LELISA DESISA: No, not intentional. It is accident.

Q. Not on purpose. You did not think, I'll hit him?
LELISA DESISA: No, it was an accident.

Q. Who do you view as your biggest competition on Sunday?
LELISA DESISA: I don't know. It is difficult to predict that. It's that day when we will know.

Q. Normally, Ethiopian athletes are very well‑known for a very strong finish. Do you feel, after last year, that to win the race you have to move and push before the end? In order to win, you have to push the last 400 meters. Is that necessary?
LELISA DESISA: Yeah, I have plans.

Q. You have plans?

Q. Good for you.
LELISA DESISA: I have plans to sprint towards the end.

Q. So it's okay for the race to come down to the last 400 meters?

Q. It could mean he's going to start 200 or 300 meters sooner.

Q. What did you learn last year? Was there a particular lesson that you learned from last year's race that can help you this year? And can you tell us what the lesson was?
LELISA DESISA: Last year I have small mistake. All the miles I followed Kipsang, but if I go in front and I push, maybe I have a chance. That is my mistake. Also, at the sprint, if I started, maybe I will win. I learned last year from that race.

Q. So the lesson was not to follow Kipsang, to go in front of Kipsang? You should have gone in front? And then sprint before the end?
LELISA DESISA: Yes. I should have gone in front and then sprinted.

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