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November 3, 2016

Craig Leon

New York, New York

Q. Craig Leon, back in New York. You've raced a lot here in the past. What are your thoughts going into the race?
CRAIG LEON: I think I'm excited. You never -- one thing you never know -- I've been doing this now for a while. You never know, kind of leading up to it. I've had good buildups. I've had bad buildups. Race results reflect those buildups sometimes, and sometimes they don't.

I'm excited to be back again. Last year was a great experience -- being up front, being able to run alongside Meb coming up First Avenue. I certainly feel like I'm in better shape than I was last year. I had a better buildup, but like I said, I don't know what that necessarily translates to.

We'll find out on Sunday.

Q. How will that experience really play into your favor?
CRAIG LEON: Yeah, I think, more than anything else, like it gives me the sense and the confidence like you really do have to run your own race. Last year, in running my own race, it just happened to be that it played out the way it did, but I think kind of moving forward this year, there's certainly a chance that it won't necessarily play out in the same way, and I still have to be confident and comfortable enough to just get in, run my own race, and kind of let the chips fall where they do.

I feel like this year, I need to be careful about -- I think I learned in February that I got out a little too hot in the first 5K. I especially need to be careful of that on the bridge, when you start the race. You know you're going to be a little off in your splits, and you're going to have to wait until you get into Brooklyn before you really kind of settle in. For me, that's probably what I'm most cognizant of heading into Sunday.

Q. Will you be keeping an eye on the other Americans in the field? There's a whole group.
CRAIG LEON: There's a lot of them, yeah. There's a lot to keep track of. To that point, I think really casually kind of keep an eye on where people are and what people are doing, but at the same time, I'm still going to be focused on just running my own race on Sunday.

Yeah, it's exciting to see. It's certainly, I think, probably the deepest American field that we've had here in New York in several years, and it should be good because, if things do kind of separate at any point, there should be enough of a path of runners around that people should be able to kind of settle in and work with each other.

I'm definitely looking forward to having the guys around on Sunday.

Q. Anything different in your training buildup this year? Pretty much the same? Just a little higher volume?
CRAIG LEON: I'd say it's pretty similar in terms of the buildup. I've been healthier this year than I was kind of last year over the past really -- I look back, and it was a year of kind of on and off injuries.

Q. Last year you didn't really have a nice spring leading into it.
CRAIG LEON: Yeah, actually, that was the most nervous I've been on the starting line because I didn't know.

Q. The buildup was not what you wanted at all.
CRAIG LEON: Right, I didn't know. So this year I had what was in my mind a much more traditional buildup. The only thing I wish I would have gotten is I didn't have the same kind of tune-up races that I would normally get.

I went out and did the B.A.A Half, but the weather that day we had terrible rain and wind.

Q. That was a rainy day, right.
CRAIG LEON: I don't know where to really rank that, like what kind of effort that was. The winners were about two or three minutes off what they would normally run, so I guess I could kind of, using that as sort of a gauge, get a sense of where I was, but I don't have that specific race to say, okay, you're tracking in this -- kind of tracking on this path.

But I certainly have some workouts, and I feel good about those. Yeah, pretty traditional buildup. I've always been kind of a higher mileage runner. So it's been 125-plus for the past 12 weeks really.

Q. Will you take some magic from last night into the race?
CRAIG LEON: Yeah, I was actually thinking -- I was joking around with my brother and just thinking like, maybe around mile 22 or 23, if I could take a rain delay, if I get a well-timed rain delay, come back out and finish the race.

But it's been a lot of fun the last couple of weeks to be -- I've been a lifelong Cubs fan.

Q. Explain that. How does a guy from Ohio --
CRAIG LEON: Just family ties. My dad grew up in the Chicago suburbs. My grandparents are there. My grandpa is still there. Yeah, we go back for summertimes in Chicago all the time as kids growing up. We were only about four hours away. We spent a lot of time, holidays, summers in Chicago, and a lot of trips to Wrigley Field growing up.

It was certainly a lot of fun last night being in New York, being able to watch the game with some other Cubs fans. Yeah, I'd like to think there's a little -- if there can be a little magic leftover from that, then great.

Q. That's the motto, " We never quit," right?
CRAIG LEON: That, and "Try to not suck." Joe Maddon has that one as well. I think it's an appropriate motto for Sunday as well.

Q. Where did you watch the game? What time did you get to bed?
CRAIG LEON: I went to bed probably about 2:30. I was up just watching.

Q. The post-game?
CRAIG LEON: The post-game, yeah, I don't know. Just soaking it up a little bit.

Q. It's been 108 years.
CRAIG LEON: Yeah, exactly. My brother was at the game. So I was talking back and forth to him. I was on the phone with my dad. I actually watched the game at a bar kind of close to the hotel but left the bar during the rain delay.

I basically -- I'd kind of given up a little bit, like I know how this story ends. So I went back and watched the rest of the game in the hotel in my room.

Q. Just by yourself?
CRAIG LEON: Just by myself.

Q. Kind of texting?
CRAIG LEON: Yeah, I was on the phone with my dad. In a way, I'm kind of glad I got back from the bar, and I was talking to my dad the last couple of outs, so, yeah, it was fun. It's a great -- it's one of those things we talk about sports and what they do socially, in terms of what they do bringing families together, and that was one of the things I thought about when I went to bed last night. It was pretty cool.

Q. Do you have -- most athletes a couple days before the marathon, they're getting in bed really early and focusing on nutrition, everything, all the little things. That was thrown out the window?
CRAIG LEON: I've never really tried to pay too much attention to that. I don't want to say throw it out the window because I'm kind of from the West Coast. In my mind, I got in yesterday, and it was still only 11:00. I can rationalize it as I'll just sleep in a little bit longer this morning.

My PR is from Chicago a couple years ago. Thursday night before the race I went to a concert with my brother. Take that back. Thursday night before the race, I went to a Bears game with my brother. Friday night we went to a concert. I mean, you've got to live your life, and you need to be comfortable and happy. Whatever you have to do to get to that place for race day, then you should do as long as it doesn't take away from -- if it's detrimental in any way and it starts to become a problematic thing. But if you're sitting around and drinking a water at a bar or something watching the game -- actually for me --

Q. It calms you.
CRAIG LEON: Exactly.

Q. Takes your mind off the race.
CRAIG LEON: At this point, I have not put a lot of thought as to who else is in the field and all the things that you can sometimes really spin around in your head leading up to the race.

I'll take a look at it, now that everything's kind of over with, but in a way, it's been kind of a good distraction for me.

Q. Did you ever get worried after that two-run homer in the eighth?
CRAIG LEON: Yeah, for sure. I left the restaurant thinking, I know how this ends. They're going to come up in the bottom of the ninth. Yeah, I think I was -- I think I was like most Cubs fans, thinking this is how Cubs games go. But it made it that much sweeter when they came back to win.

Q. Do you forgive Steve Bartman?
CRAIG LEON: I've never held anything against Steve Bartman. He didn't deserve to go through any of the stuff that he went through. Hopefully, now that the Cubs have won, it's kind of over with, and he can still live a normal life. I've never been that big of a sports fan to really hold any grudges, certainly against another fan.

Bartman, wherever you are, I hope that you're celebrating and that you can kind of live the rest of your life without any Cubs fans heckling you or anything like that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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