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November 3, 2016

Amanda McGrory

New York, New York

Q. How has your preparation been?
AMANDA MCGRORY: It's been really good. It's been a long season for us with the Rio games this year, but I'm coming off of a good season. So I'm feeling strong. A third place finish in Rio and then a third place finish a few weeks ago in Chicago. So I'm hoping for another top three on Sunday.

Q. Josh told us it's been a bit hard this year because you have to be continually training, but this is a different ball game.
AMANDA MCGRORY: It absolutely is a different ball game. We're trying to stretch that out. I think one of the advantages is that most of the athletes here are in the same predicament that Josh and I are. Most of the athletes here raced in Rio. A lot of them are track athletes as well. So we've been mixing up the training and doing things a little bit differently. But I've been really happy with our long pushes that we've been on lately, and I think that it's translated surprisingly well going from the short speed work that we were doing to prepare for the track in Rio and then stretching out that base we had of high speed and making it a little bit longer and adding some distance and endurance on top of that.

Q. What is the longest time you guys did?
AMANDA MCGRORY: The longest training?

Q. Yes.
AMANDA MCGRORY: It's usually somewhere around 25 miles.

Q. So you don't go 40 miles?
AMANDA MCGRORY: No, but we do do -- we'll do multiple 20-mile runs per week.

Q. To me, it wasn't really publicized that this is included in a World Marathon Major for the first time. When did they decide that?
AMANDA MCGRORY: As far as I know, it's been --

Q. This the first race?
AMANDA MCGRORY: This is not the first race. The series, the most recent World Marathon Major series started in Boston.

Q. This year?
AMANDA MCGRORY: This year, correct. But this year is the first year that all of the races have been included, both the running and the wheelchair divisions.

Q. When you were in England, British TV covered that for like four hours. Everybody did an incredible job. And some of the English papers afterwards said the Paralympics should be considered on the same level as the regular Olympics? How do you feel about that?
AMANDA MCGRORY: I think they should. It's the same thing. We're top athletes performing at the highest level with the best in the world, just doing it a little bit differently. I think that over the past few years, the visibility has really increased. Marathons have helped that for sure because they've been so inclusive of athletes with disabilities. But even in the U.S., we've gotten more television coverage of the Paralympic games this past year and live streaming than we ever have before.

I've been competing 20 years, and up until this year, a majority of my family never had the opportunity to watch any of my races.

Q. Because it wasn't on television?
AMANDA MCGRORY: Because it wasn't on television. But between NBC's live streams and some of the highlight shows they did and the coverage they've done this year, it was the first time they'd ever gotten a chance to watch.

Q. That's great. Can you just talk about the reception you got in Brazil? To me on television, it looked incredible.
AMANDA MCGRORY: Brazil was incredible. There was a lot of concern before we went, as I'm sure you heard, that things weren't ready, things weren't going to be prepared, that ticket sales were going to be low. But I was blown away. I think the local organizing committee did a fantastic job. The Brazilian people are warm and welcoming and friendly, and it was fantastic. It was great.

Q. It was great. Just tell me what the timing was out there, but you were --
AMANDA MCGRORY: We were super, super close.

The top athletes in Brazil finished one second apart in the marathon. So Tatyana won silver there, and I came home with the bronze. We also had the opportunity to push together on the track, and two out of the three track events I did were Team USA American sweeps with Tatyana winning gold, another one of our teammates, Chelsea McClammer, picking up second in one race, third in the other, and then myself in that third position. I believe they call it the Mcsweep and the Mctriple. So that was a lot of fun.

Q. [ No microphone ].
AMANDA MCGRORY: Drafting is huge. There's an estimated 30 percent energy save if you are in the draft behind someone. So there are a whole lot of tactics going on all the time. You can see it a little bit more in the longer distance races, but a lot of times in the marathon, if there's a group of people together, you can see people taking turns at the front, planning out their attacks.

Q. Is it hard if somebody is forced to be out there, reluctantly staying there, or do they try to drop back a little? How is that done?
AMANDA MCGRORY: I like to think the women cooperate and share a little bit better than the men do. For the most part --

Q. There's more fighting among the males?
AMANDA MCGRORY: For the most part, I think the women do a pretty good job of sharing their time at the front, everybody putting the work in. Everybody working hard. The men, I think, play some more games. They play more games than the women do.

Q. Typical, yeah. What's amazing to me is everybody does all of the distances from 100 meters to the marathon.
AMANDA MCGRORY: It would be absolutely unheard of for runners. For the most part, most athletes don't run the full gamut, but we are able to stretch our events out a little bit further than the runners do, and it's because we have the same muscle groups for every event. So when you're running 100 meters versus running a marathon, the way you're running, everything is completely different. For wheelchair athletes, it's a lot more similar, and the training is a lot more similar than it would be for a runner as well.

So people tend to have a natural proclivity towards one or the other. Either you have the fast twitch muscles and you're strong in the sprints, or you have a little bit more endurance buildup, and you run the longer events.

But even then, most sprinters will stretch from 100 meters to 800, some of them up to 1,500. And the marathoners will stretch all the way down to maybe the 1,500 and 800 as well.

And there's a small handful that are able to do it all.

Q. In the 100, it's harder to start, right? What's the secret to breaking from the blocks quickly?
AMANDA MCGRORY: I can't do it. One of the reasons I'm not a sprinter is I don't have the quick power takeoff that she has.

Q. But you have done well at other shorter distances. Do they all feed into each other, from the 100 up to a marathon?
AMANDA MCGRORY: I think all of the races feed together, and there's definitely things to be learned from all gof them.

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