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March 20, 2016

Stephen Sambu

Sam Chelanga

New York, New York

Q. Mr. Sambu, you had no intention of letting this come down to the wire this year, did you?
STEPHEN SAMBU: No, I was looking out for today. I didn't want it to be like last year. I was looking back all the time to try to make sure nobody's close to me.

Q. Is that why you went as early as you did? You wanted a lot of space?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Yeah, so that my lead would be comfortable.

Q. Sam, you ran a nice race too. Are you happy with your performance?
SAM CHELANGA: Yeah, I'm very happy. My goal was to make the podium, and I wasn't sure what kind of shape I was after the trials. Those things, you don't know what to expect, because I dropped out.

But I was pretty -- I was feeling good. And I was happy to see Sambu try to settle some scores from last year. Overall, I thought we did great.

Q. How do you adjust your -- you had peaked for the trials, obviously. I'm not sure what mile mark you dropped out there, but how do you sort of do a mini recovery and then try to get back into workouts for a new goal? How did that go, that last training phase?
SAM CHELANGA: I go based on how I feel, like my body. I felt like the only tough day was at the marathon, but then I came back a couple of days later. Five days, I was feeling good, and I said, you know what, I'll go to the New York Half and get something out of my training and then get ready for the trials over the summer in track.

Q. How far into the trials did you make it before you had to drop?
SAM CHELANGA: About 18 miles, 19.

Q. Stephen, were you looking at the West Side Highway as sort of your time to break away?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Yeah, that was my plan. Because I know from there -- like seven or eight miles from there. So I know I have like almost five miles to go. That was where I was thinking, if I get beyond that highway, that's the place for me to push ahead and try to look to drop people over there.

Q. Did you think you'd be all by yourself for as long as you were?
STEPHEN SAMBU: No, I didn't know that because I know there's a lot of really good guys like Sam, Wilson Chebet, and Barrios. So I was hoping to go ahead of those guys maybe with one or two miles to go. But when I pushed a little bit, then I remain alone after that. So that's good.

Q. How big a role do you think experience plays in doing well on this course? You've been here -- this is your fifth or fourth time?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Yeah, fourth time. Yeah, I think it's good because I know everything about the course. I know after this corner, I have to turn this way. If you know the course really well, it's really important. I know everywhere, all the corners.

Q. So if you finish third and then second and then first, what do you have to do next year?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Finish first again.

Q. Another course record. When you turned -- when you came out of the tunnel -- everyone's been saying coming out of the tunnel, the wind was just --
STEPHEN SAMBU: Yeah, it was so tough. When I come out from the tunnel, I was so -- because after the tunnel is a little bit hilly, and it's windy over there. So it's so tough.

Q. So when you turn the corner on that final straightaway, did you look back? Did you feel good enough not to look back? Knowing that no one was there.
STEPHEN SAMBU: I looked back, and there was no one else there. I looked back, and I saw that Sam and Chebet was a little bit far away, and I said, okay, no problem.

Q. Felt good to break that tape alone, right?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Yeah, so good.

Q. Was that the last time you looked back? When was the last time you looked back to see?
STEPHEN SAMBU: I looked back when I turned the last corner.

Q. Sam, do you think you'll be back?
SAM CHELANGA: Of course. I don't know, just every year that I've done this race, it seems like I have a good summer. I start with the New York Half, get some strength, and then it carries on to the track. So I'm hoping I do well this year and come back again next year.

I've done twice. This was my third time. I was fifth, sixth, and then third. So maybe I'll try to take it away from Sambu.

Q. What's next for you, Stephen?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Next for me, I have an 8K in two weeks in Chicago.

Q. Shamrock?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Yeah, Shamrock, I'm doing that.

Q. Maybe we'll see you back here in New York too, right?
STEPHEN SAMBU: Yeah, maybe.

Q. What about you, Sam? What is your next plan?
SAM CHELANGA: I'm not sure. I might do the Cherry Blossom 10 mile, but I haven't talked to anybody about it.

But mainly I'm really thinking about track. In April, track. I've got to make Team USA for real.

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