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November 6, 2016

Peter Ciaccia

New York, New York

THE MODERATOR: We're going to bring our race director of the TCS New York City Marathon and the president of events, PETER CIACCIA, just to comment.

PETER CIACCIA: Thank you, everybody. Thanks. This was just a fantastic day. Still is unfolding. We had a record number of starters today, and we think we're just going to have a record number of finishers as well that will carry through. So it's going to be, again, the biggest marathon in the world thus far.

What could be a better day than what we had today with the debut of Molly Huddle, who we recognized as a fierce competitor, and to see her performance today was unbelievable. To get on the podium was really special. Really for American distance running and for women in particular, I think it solidifies that the American women are really strong contenders in any of these marathons.

Looking at Rio, all three finished in the top ten.

And even having Abdi come back, he's a great guy. We've known him for years. He's competed with us on many different levels from the 10Ks through the half marathons, and it just warmed our hearts to see him come in and get on the podium. It was a really special day for me to see that.

Our citizen runners out here, just standing at the finish line and greeting them, it's just amazing to see the kind of impact that this event gives these guys and ladies as they cross that finish line. It's really tremendous. Our teams are out there working, and we'll be here until the very last finisher crosses. It's just as important for us to give that person as great of an experience as the first person that crosses the finish line. So whatever time that is -- and we'll figure that out. Last year we stayed here until about 10:30 at night, and we intend to do the same today.

Q. You said it was a record number of starters. Do you know what that number was?
PETER CIACCIA: I think it's a little north of 52,000.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the growth of involving children and youth in the marathon.
PETER CIACCIA: Yes, thank you. Our youth programs here, we service 115,000 kids in public schools in the five boroughs here with free running programs, our Mighty Milers programs. That's even extended Nationwide. We have 200,000 kids in those programs.

It's really important that we tell that story a little better. Over the last few years, we've been developing races for the kids that we can insert into bigger races like the marathon or the United Airlines New York City Half, and the kids just have a ball. It's 1,500 kids running through the finish line, but what's important is we leverage our assets and leverage where broadcast is, and we want to tell our story. That story was told today as we started the race out on Verrazano Bridge and even down on the finish line telling the story about the kids as well.

So it's important. We're really excited about all we do for the kids in the communities, as well as our new initiative, which is our youth wheelchair programs, which we're really excited about. Probably in the works for two years, but we just started unrolling this where we teach kids who are in wheelchairs or have limited use of their legs, are really not anaerobically or aerobically fit, through studies we have seen, because they've been pushed around by their parents. We just wanted to get those kids fit. And it's all about inclusion too. We have the races we do each week here, and we see that we can just incorporate those kids into the races.

Tatyana McFadden has actually been a big supporter. She donated one of her racing wheelchairs to the program. New York Road Runners has invested some of our resources into it. So it's an ongoing program, and the clinics that we have are now established where these kids can come out once a week. We had them in the fall, and we're going to be doing them indoors during the winter and come back out in the spring. So we may see some of these kids challenging Marcel one day.

Q. Peter, two questions actually. Just looking at the race from the organizational side, any particular challenges this year in and then also I had a sense, and I guess I'd seen some information in the paper about you were in a heightened security situation. Can you address that at all?
PETER CIACCIA: Overall organizationally, we plan for this race -- we're planning for next year's race right now. What we see out there, we gather our information, our metrics, our data, and we sit down and discuss what we want to do, but we come back, and we really do not want to sit back on our Laurels. Each year we want to do something a little better, do something that's a little challenging. This year we've incorporated the biometrics, performance metrics into the broadcast and into what we did here in the pavilion during the week for the runners.

So from the organizational standpoint, we have a great team at New York Road Runners. They really work on this. And the beauty of this is we do races every weekend. This is not as big as the marathon, but we're a finely tuned team that's worked together for a long time now.

Safety and security, from a safety standpoint, we will always want to have the best safe race here, but safety is led by New York Police Department, and who better than the biggest police department in the world to have out there with you to support the race? There are really no issues with safety and security. They might have changed a few checkpoints, but there's a lot behind the scenes that people don't see, and there's a lot in front of the scenes that people do see with the security overlays here.

Q. Peter, do you think you've reached any sort of a limit on the size of the race?
PETER CIACCIA: Here's the thing. The most important thing is to make sure that the experience is the best and not that we're trying to be the biggest in the world. The teams really work out -- we've worked out all the choke points along the course. That's why we instituted wave starts. So we looked at -- there's algorithms that are put in place so we understand how many folks could flow through a particular point over a period of time.

Of course we can always discuss what's going to happen in the next turn of when we develop our plans for next year, but, again, could we go bigger? We would have to look at everything. We have to work with the City on this too. It's not like we just come out there and do this. The City is totally invested and works with us as well.

Oh, most important today, I was doing an interview, so I actually didn't catch it. What's really exciting for us today, here's a little bit of news for next year. Meb had made his announcement that he's going to come back here and run his final marathon and then retire. So his final marathon will be here in New York next year, and that's pretty special for us. It's his 26th, so he says. I think, at the end of the day, he stated he wants this to be his last marathon. Who better to have? We've had Meb in many, many of our races, and we've known him for many years. Just an all around great guy. So it's going to be really special.

Thank you guys.

THE MODERATOR: So the official starter number, 52,049. Obviously, we'll have the finisher total a little bit later tonight.

As Peter said, it's a pretty safe bet we'll break our record of 50,530 finishers.

To give you some more detail, Meb did an interview on TV with the press conferences here, and that's where he announced that New York in 2017 will be his final race as a professional.

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