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November 4, 2018

Lelisa Desisa

Shura Kitata

Geoffrey Kamworor

Jared Ward

Bernard Lagat

New York, New York

THE MODERATOR: We're going to bring up our top three men and our top American. Top American today with a time of 2:12:24, finishing sixth, Jared Ward. In third place, the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon Champion from Kenya with a time of 2:06:26, Geoffrey Kamworor. In second place, from Ethiopia, with a time of 2:06:01, Shura Kitata. And the winner of the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, with a time of 2:05:59, the second fastest time ever run here on this course, Lelisa Desisa.

Lelisa, the third Ethiopian to win this race. At the end of the race, I'm sure a lot of people thought of 2014, where you were so close. Was that in your head those final 800 meters of the race?

LELISA DESISA: Yeah, I timed it pretty much. I am very happy. Yeah, I remember it. That time I recalled feeling what I'm feeling after 15K. I'm feeling bathroom. When I enter 2014, my stomach is too big, too big. Because of that, I didn't champion. I fight, but I didn't champion.

This year I compared that time. Champion is always champion. Every year I am in injury. You know, some races I am not good to run. So this year I control myself, and I manage myself with my teammates, with my coach, with my manager, and I think that time, what is my problem? If not feeling bathroom, I will champion, like today. This additional two times New York City champion.

THE MODERATOR: Shura, first time in New York. You set a hard pace. Did you expect others to come with you when you went out so hard?

SHURA KITATA: I trained very hard for this race. I did everything that my coaches told me. I covered all of the training programs that they gave me. For that reason, I was extremely confident about my shape, and I knew that I could run a fast time, and that's why I was running very fast from the beginning because there was no pacemaker and I wanted to finish in a very fast time.

THE MODERATOR: Geoffrey, you came in as the defending champion. Third today in a very quick time. New York has been good to you. What do you love about this race?

GEOFFREY KAMWOROR: Thank you. Actually, to me I'm pretty happy to finish on the podium. I came out the best that I could in the race. I tried my best, and I'm happy to be third.

THE MODERATOR: Jared, what a story. Rough two years for you since Rio. Yesterday we were talking about the number of injuries you had, the roller coaster. You were limping when you came up here. This is real redemption for you to be top American here in New York today.

JARED WARD: Yeah. You know, I always relish the opportunity to run in places like this and the good races because they don't always come around as easy or as regularly as you hope they do. It's just fun to be back and to be running with such a strong American field. I mean, I really like these guys that we were running around, that I was running with during the race, and this team that I have the opportunity to work with towards the next Olympic cycle and the chance to run against incredible international fields in races like this.

I think I'm starting to love New York. I've always loved New York, and it was fun to have the crowds out there. The people were amazing all the way from the gun. I was counting on the crowds at First Avenue after I came off of the Queensboro Bridge to keep me going, but the crowds started all the way in Brooklyn, and it was just a really fun race and fun place to be.

THE MODERATOR: And the leg, is it okay? Leg injury? You were limping.

JARED WARD: Yeah. I think everything's okay. That hamstring's still good. I'm a little bit beat up, so I'm going to be walking slow for a couple days, but, yeah, I feel good.

Q. Jared, can you just walk me through sort of the decision making you process you made in the race in terms of which moves to go to. I think Scott Fauble said you sort of pulled away from him at 10K. What were you thinking then? Why did you make the moves you made?
JARED WARD: I was talking to Coach Eyestone, and we were making a decision before the race. I really didn't have as consistent of a training buildup as I have in the past. I really wasn't dialed into a pace as I have been before. When you have the same workout and same preparation for multiple marathons, it's not hard to tell what type of pace you're ready for, and this one was just different.

I had a hamstring pull in September, and since then the training's been a little bit modified and lower volume. So this was one of those races where I just tried to run by feel. So it was getting into Brooklyn and getting into a rhythm, and the rhythm was faster than I expected, but it felt good. And then it was getting onto First Avenue and those long straightaways and finding a rhythm and just trying to find a new rhythm every long straightaway and lock into it.

And really it was running with that American field out there. I was talking with Chris and with Shadrack, with Abdi in the race there as we were kind of working together. So I'm working with these other Americans, and hearing Scott come up at the end and people cheering for him.

So it was just one mile and one straightaway at a time.

Q. Mr. Kitata, you fell back into third place and then suddenly re-emerged on Central Park West. What happened there that you managed to finish second? Did you think you were going to make it all the way to first place there at the end?
SHURA KITATA: Because I led from the very beginning, I really felt the effort in my legs, and therefore I had fallen back. As that effort started to fade, I began to move up, and once my legs were starting to feel better, I was confident that I could be second.

Q. Lelisa, what did you see when you looked back? You dropped Geoffrey, and then you saw Shura coming up on you. Were you worried at that point? And also, do you guys train together?
LELISA DESISA: Yeah, after Geoffrey dropped off, I saw my back because he's a half marathon and 10K runner. Maybe he will come at the finishing line. I think about that.

But Shura, I don't think that he's following me. After 800 meters, I saw him. After that, I know him. He is a strong guy, as you saw in the morning. And when we train together, he's a very fighter guy. Because of that, I am afraid. So as I am finishing my run, yes, I am very afraid of him.

THE MODERATOR: I want to thank and congratulate Shura Kitata and Geoffrey Kamworor, their times today the third and fourth fastest time to ever run on the TCS New York City Marathon course.

And I want to bring up a man we all want to talk to, running his first marathon today but hardly his first race, Bernard Lagat.

Bernard, I know you were going for that American Masters record, and Meb's got it for a little while longer. First marathon under your belt. How are you feeling?

BERNARD LAGAT: Man, it was something out there. It was fun, starting with all these guys. I've never been in such an environment like that before, about to run 26.2 miles. I had fun. I enjoyed it. The fans were amazing on the road. It's one of those things that I didn't even know going in that I would really experience something like that today. It was really awesome.

Q. Lelisa, many Americans, many people remember you for winning in Boston in 2013 and then winning again in 2015. Do you think this win finally kind of put you on a different level in terms of finally becoming -- raising in some ways those two episodes?
THE MODERATOR: The question does the two wins in Boston and the win here in New York elevate Lelisa? Does he feel it elevates him to a different level of athlete?

LELISA DESISA: Also, I tried to champion three times Boston, on April 20 this year, but because of bad weather, I drop out. This is my dream to champion also New York. Boston, New York, this is my dream, to be a champion. Especially Boston 2013, I participate the first time, I champion. But here I participate four times. I am very tired for champion here. People know that I am very happy today to champion because I am very tired.

I am hard working. What is my problem? Without Boston and New York, I run only these races, including World Championship. Because of that, I am very happy. I think it is for me equitable position. All championships for me are important, but I'm tired for this. Because of that, I am very happy.

Q. Question for Bernard. Just wondering, you've run 3:26 for 1,500. How did the pain today compare to the pain of that and the pain in the last hour as you're limping around?
BERNARD LAGAT: Oh, man, I think, when I went 3:26, I didn't have any pain at all. If you had told me to do another cool down, another two miles or something, I would have done it without a problem. But now after some time, with this new race for me, 26.2, I mean, that is something different all together.

So for me, if I was in a position of like Lelisa or Jared, for example, I would have known exactly how it feels to run that long and what do I really need to do to prepare specifically for that one? But for me, it was just a trial, so I was relying on the coach who knows how to train marathon runners. But without experiencing that first one, even if you get the best training, it's hard to really kind of put it together out there and execute the way the coach wants to you do.

But now I tested it. It's not bad. I ran 2:17 my first one, and now when I go back, I know how to train really well for it and hopefully come over here and then improve as I go forward. And maybe they said once you run one marathon, is that true, they said you can come back and run again. It's addictive. I hope I can get that and come back to New York once more.

THE MODERATOR: So Bernard Lagat is not retiring from the marathon, not even close.

Q. Bernard, what was the most difficult for a guy that hasn't run a marathon before? What was the most difficult part of this course today where you kind of felt it and said, oh, this is a lot different than I'm used to?
BERNARD LAGAT: The most important -- I mean, the thing that was a bit hard for me were the incline places. The hard, low -- first of all, to start the first mile, we were just on that bridge, and I was thinking to myself this is starting a race on uphill. This is something I'm not used to. I'm used to just like flat. The track races are always flat. And then once we passed 14 mile, at the 15 mile was also inside this long tunnel, big bridge I would say, and that was the one that got me really bad.

So I would say the difficult part for me was really running on those incline roads and the bends and downhill. Those were a little bit that got me, especially I started feeling it on my quad, and then my calves started giving up towards the end.

I think, if I prepare really well again, this time I know now how to prepare for a course like New York because those uphills were the ones that killed me today.

THE MODERATOR: Lelisa, can you talk a little bit about the pace of today's race? 2:05:59, few people have run that fast here. Walk me through the last half marathon where you guys ran 1:02 on the back half of this course.

LELISA DESISA: Yeah, also, I am amazing myself. It is very fast for a major marathon for me. As you saw the start, my teammate, Shura Kitata, is pacing us, pacemaker. He was confident. He didn't stay in back. He go in front.

Then after we arrive halfway, we pace about 2:06. After that, I know as we minimize to four or five because we increase after halfway, especially after 35K, we increase. We increase the speed. And we try to, as you saw him, after 35K, he's feeling tired because of pacing all this.

By the way, I'm using him. He's a strong guy, young guy. After that, Kamworor continue to increase pace. I follow him. After that, after the 24 mile, a little bit I push. Because of that, the time is come like this.

Q. Congratulations to Lelisa. Last year during the Breaking2 experiment, how did that training, that special training help you to get the shape that you are in today? And how has been the support from the running team, your team?
LELISA DESISA: Last two years I participate breaking through, I am unlucky because I have injuries. Injuries are very difficult. My hip side. I treat, I treat, I treat, but I am not enough to run the target. The program is very helpful. I train with many students from university. I like this. I learn everything about training, about recovery, about nutrition. Also today, it is helping me. It is helping me. Injury is gone. I continue that target. Today I am a champion.

By the way, thank you Breaking2, by the way. Maybe I am now okay. I bring the results. Maybe I try, and if I continue to participate, I'm okay with it now. By the way, generally, it is very helpful. Very helpful.

THE MODERATOR: Jared, you finished just four seconds ahead of Scott Fauble. I know you guys ran together a lot in the buildup. Did you have a chance to work together during this race?

JARED WARD: A little bit right at the beginning, and then it was really -- really I was working with Chris Derrick and Shadrack and Abdi and Bernard in the pack a little bit there too. I would say kind of going through Brooklyn and a lot with Chris Derrick and Shadrack through the race, after we caught up to Shadrack there.

So, no, I didn't -- but I knew he was there, and even 20 miles, 21 miles into the race, when we're trying to lock a rhythm and I'm running with these other guys, I know Scott's there coming, and he's a very smart pacer and a smart racer and an early transition to the marathon for minimum. So I say watch Scott Fauble. I mean, I wouldn't sleep on him.

When I heard people yelling for Faub at 25 miles and after, I was running scared. So, yeah, it was exciting to see him right there. It was exciting to see him four seconds behind me right there. But I knew he was coming.

Q. Jared, you obviously had a wonderful Olympics in 2016. You had some injury issues. Where do you place this marathon in terms of you kind of returning to fitness where you wanted to be?
JARED WARD: It's nice to have a solid one. And so the training wasn't perfect. In fact, I was on the phone with David Monty six, seven weeks ago, talking about whether or not I was going to be here and whether or not I was going to be running, just because I really wanted the next one to be a good one and I was worried about some of these setbacks. And he encouraged me to just come and run and give it a go, and I appreciate that support and encouragement.

And then the next -- the last six weeks, seven weeks of training really went pretty well, but the volume was a little lower. So I look at this as hopefully a building block over the next year and a half into the next Olympic cycle, and hopefully we can pick up here and stay healthy and kind of go forward.

Q. For Bernard, now that you've run the marathon, has your respect for the distance changed a little bit? What do you think now about Meb having run that Masters record?
BERNARD LAGAT: I've always respected people that train and compete in the marathon for the longest time because I used to think you've got to be really, really crazy to run these things because it is tough, it is long. How do you even prepare for it? So I have even more respect added to what I had before for people who really do this like as their event.

I wanted to really get into it myself to feel how this marathon is. The training for it was tough, and then at the same time, how is the race itself? So now I have even a newfound respect for these guys who do it at the. But it's how you prepare yourself coming into it.

So at 2:12:20, Meb's time is incredible. So I was just talking about it for a long time. A, it would be really good to get it. Maybe I would make that my aim coming into New York because I always like to have a target, and that was my target, what enabled me to train and prepare and kind of focus in the race itself.

But now it's a tough time, but it's good to try. Maybe again next time, we will just think of the same thing, me and Abdi another 40 plus and then try to encourage each other to see if we can get closer to it. So I think it's an amazing time, and Meb really did a good job back then, and I've got more respect for that time in itself.

THE MODERATOR: We're going to wrap up. Thanks to Jared Ward, Bernard Lagat, Lelisa Desisa.

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