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November 4, 2016

Kurt Fearnley

New York, New York

Q. How many times a year do you race each other?
KURT FEARNLEY: So often. Five, six, seven times a year.

Q. You know everybody's strengths. Everybody knows yours, weaknesses, everything. How do you race? What's the difference? Is what's the deciding factor?
KURT FEARNLEY: The course. You know everyone's strengths. You know their weaknesses. But you've got less chance to utilize either your strength or capitalize on their weaknesses, depending on the course. So my strength is uphills. This gives me lots of uphills. There's not many marathons that give me that. So this gives me the opportunity to hurt people and to progress my results.

Q. So even though everybody knows that --
KURT FEARNLEY: They've got to catch me still. They've got to try to hold on on that first uphill and then -- this race is as unpredictable as it gets. Since 2010, I don't think there's been a repeat winner in men's in New York since 2010. I know David Weir won one, Marcel Hug won one, I won one, Ernst won one. Soejima won one. That's '10, '11, '13, '14, '15. There hasn't been -- the last time a repeat winner won here was in 2009, when I got my fourth straight.

Q. So you're inside their heads, they're inside yours. Of everybody sort of knows --
KURT FEARNLEY: The race started two days ago.

Q. What, as far as psyching people and all that rap?
KURT FEARNLEY: The race starts the first time you shake hands this week.

Q. This goes on at every World Marathon Major, correct?
KURT FEARNLEY: This is more intense because it's the finish of a long year.

Q. Plus it's a challenging course.
KURT FEARNLEY: It's a tough course.

Q. It gives most people a more fair chance.
KURT FEARNLEY: It does. There's not the ability to hide in New York. New York, it's just a brutal run for the wheelchairs. Everyone knows it's almost like a time trial. You turn up there. If you're strong enough to hold on, then you hold on, but it's a tough run. We don't get that many in races. Maybe in Boston.

Q. Is that because of the road surface?

Q. Boston favors the heavy guys. This one is different. That's a great answer.
KURT FEARNLEY: That first mile up that hill for the chairs, it gives you so much to work with.

Q. If you're light.
KURT FEARNLEY: Well, it means he's got to -- the big boys have to work their absolute --

Q. It gives you a chance to get away, and they know what they have to do.
KURT FEARNLEY: And we know what we've got to do.

Q. Ernst just said this quote to me, he said, "You know, I'm chasing Kurt like crazy. I catch up to him, and there's another big hill, and then I'm chasing him again."
KURT FEARNLEY: And I'm trying to get rid of him. And then he catches up with me, and I'm trying to get rid of him again.

Q. The Swiss guy --
KURT FEARNLEY: Can you sort him out for me? He's racing amazing.

Q. What's his strength? Why has he been so dominant this year?
KURT FEARNLEY: I have no idea, no idea. Like we haven't had a guy win more than one marathon in four years in a year. He's won five so far? He's 29, 30.

Q. He's 30.
KURT FEARNLEY: 30. He's hitting his face, and when you get momentum like that, sometimes you've just got to ride it out. We need him to lose one race.

Q. One question for both of you. Wheelchair men and women hold on very well, anywhere from 34 to 42, 43, like this guy. Is there a reason why, in your mind -- in other words, speed is important. You need this just like you do in track, but you seem to hold top end abilities longer.
KURT FEARNLEY: It takes such a long time to get to our level. You don't see many people outside of their 30s reaching the pinnacle of marathons. You just don't. You don't see many people before 30 being able to get into our sport. So once you're there, it's just a matter of maintaining a certain level of strength and skill with the chair.

Q. Stamina seems to hold up for you guys very well.
KURT FEARNLEY: See, I can't see myself lasting too many more years at this level because it is taxing. Although our guys hang on, there's a price that we'll have to pay for hanging on.

Q. Ernst, what do you think?
ERNST VAN DYK: I always say, if you look at why runners retire -- and usually runners retire because either their Achilles or their knee or their hip goes. We're already in chairs. So none of that's going to go. We have shoulder problems, wrist problems, elbow problems, but I think because there's no impact -- we don't carry our own weight. We don't pound it onto the road the whole time. We have the privilege of having an extended career.

As Kurt said, it takes a lot of years to find the right position, to find the right technique, and then to build up your endurance to do a marathon and sprint the last 400 meters on the track. It's a lot of things that needs to go right in an athlete's career to reach that point of achievement.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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