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November 4, 2018

Shalane Flanagan

Molly Huddle

Desiree Linden

New York, New York

THE MODERATOR: Today a historic day for the TCS New York City Marathon. Three American women in the top six of today's race, first time that's happened since 1978. Finishing in sixth with a time of 2:27:51, Desiree Linden. In fourth, with a time of 2:26:44, Molly Huddle. And the champion from last year, finishing on the podium yet again, with a time of 2:26:22, Shalane Flanagan.

Shalane, I want to start with you. You've been here three times. All three times you've been on the podium. I know you're a humble person, but how does it feel to be one of the best.

SHALANE FLANAGAN: That was a thought as I was racing and feeling kind of sorry for myself. You have to find motivation, things to rally and to focus on. When I got dropped from Mary and a bunch of other women, I kept thinking, keep fighting. You never know what's going to happen in front of you, and just put your head down, keep working, and fight for that podium spot.

So when I finally did get into that third place, I got another level of like excitement and just felt like really proud of myself in that moment that I kept fighting, even though there's some rough patches in there.

THE MODERATOR: You talked about it a little bit on the broadcast. When you finished last year, I think we all remember what you said. This year was I love you. Little bit of a different message, but same sort of sentiment for you?

SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah. I mean, I don't like plan out what I'm going to say, but I think I just was overcome with emotion, I think in that stretch, as everyone is. I think 50,000-plus runners feel overwhelmed, and a lot of people probably say a lot of things either out loud or in their head, and I guess I'm quite verbal when I'm coming down the homestretch.

But it was like, yeah, like I love this community, I love the running community, and I love New Yorkers. I've had an unbelievable time performing here and really appreciate the fans that are here and everyone that supports us.

THE MODERATOR: This is your version of the end zone dance. I like it.

Molly, a great performance for you after a tough run in Boston. How is that for your confidence going into a World Championship year?

MOLLY HUDDLE: Yeah, it was great to not have any major hurdles as far as weather goes and just be able to race the marathon and really see how the buildup went out on the race course. It was a fast day out there, so it was the opposite of Boston weather-wise. It was one of those really nice days where Mary got close to the course record and a lot of the women ran fast. So that was a good confidence boost.

It was just a good marathon experience for me, and it was a good experience. It was a solid race.

THE MODERATOR: Desiree, a slow early pace. How does that play into your race strategy? I know you like to be real tactical out there.

DESIREE LINDEN: Yeah, that's a bit of a struggle for me. Made some transitions this year, hoping to be a little better than that. I think I waited a bit too long to kind of get the ball rolling. Honestly, I thought I handled the second half really well. I had every reason to just back off and roll in and be fine with that, but I kept my foot on the gas the whole day. I was able to catch two people. I think I came back in 1:12, which is one of my better half marathons in the open.

All in all, it was really solid. I think I'm going to get better, improve with that, but also make some adjustment in tactics going forward.

Q. Des, you just said you ran your second half in 1:12, and you seem pretty happy with that. Mary Keitany ran her second half marathon in 66:58. For each of you guys, what is your reaction when you hear that split?
DESIREE LINDEN: I don't know if I can say those words in here.

MOLLY HUDDLE: Holy crap would be mine. That's not a fast second half. That's amazing.

SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, I mean, not much I can do about that. It is what it is. I don't have the physical capability to have an answer for that.

Q. I'd like to ask all three of you -- and congratulations on your races today. What do you tell yourselves when you're having a tough part of the race? Do you talk to yourself during it?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Oh, yeah. I always thought it would be really entertaining if we had like thought bubbles that could be above our head. Some of it is really positive self talk. Some of it is really negative. I was joking around with Jared earlier. He was like, Shalane, you could be retired and just be hanging out. You don't have to put yourself through this.

But that's what makes, I think, us feel really alive is we get really nervous. We are really invested in what we do, and it's kind of scary. It's how do you mentally, more than anything out there, talk yourself into doing what you're doing.

MOLLY HUDDLE: Yeah, definitely you go through moments in the race where you're like, I don't know if I can do this for 15 more miles or 10 more miles or however long you have to go. I just break it down into short chunks, and I'm like, you can do this mile. You can do this mile in 5:30 even if you're dying. So, yeah, I just try to keep it -- not think too far ahead because it can be -- the marathon is a long distance to wrap your head around. So I like to break it into chunks.

I was really happy when I got to the last 5K because I was like, I can do a 5K.

DESIREE LINDEN: Yeah, I think it's race management early. Am I getting my water bottle? How is the pace and so on and so forth. That last 5K, when it's just all in and you're looking for energy to tap into, I think about my team, and I know there's color schemes and logos and so on and so forth, but team to me is the people who are around me every day and invest in my running, and it's my family, and it's my coaches, and it's physio John Ball and Josh Cox and all the people who invest in me. And I want to look them in the eye afterwards and say I gave it everything. I think about those people out there, and I want to talk to them afterwards and say I was proud of my race. And whether the result was good or bad, they can look me in the eye and know that I did my best.

Q. A big moment for the American women, obviously, top four in the top seven. Just the strength right now in the American field for the marathon. Is it as strong as it's been in a while? And what are the benchmarks? I don't know if that involves you at all, Shalane, but as far as moving forward for the U.S. women to Worlds next year but also for Tokyo in 2020.
DESIREE LINDEN: I mean, yeah, it's definitely a great group of runners, and I think we're continually pushing the bar for each other. You can win a major one year and not be the top American at the next race, which is insane. It's really an exciting time, and I think it's hopefully getting a lot of young eyeballs on the sport and hopefully getting people excited about the marathon. Hopefully, that creates more depth in the future and inspires the next generation. I think that's the goal for all of us.

As far as World Championship, I think with it being pushed up to the Olympic trials, we might get to see some of the young up and comers take those spots and hopefully have some really great breakthroughs in Doha. I think that's going to be tricky to get people to go there just because of temperature, it's a later World Championship, it pushes up against the trials. So you might see kind of the younger up and comers take those spots, but I could be totally wrong too. We'll see.

MOLLY HUDDLE: Yeah, I definitely think the top American talent are going to the marathon more than maybe they were. It's become kind of a glamorous event for us and just a challenge that a lot of us seem to want to take on. I think that the Olympic trials for sure will be one of the hardest teams to make for the marathon, but we'll be sending a team that where all three can do something at the Olympics, similar to last time. So that's pretty exciting.

Q. Shalane, I was wondering if you knew whether this was going to be your last New York Marathon, and what has this marathon meant to your career and your legacy?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I think I'm going to take a few hours post race to decompress and really evaluate, so I don't want to be too soon to make a decision, but I do feel like my heart is leaning towards serving others in the knowledge that I've gained. It's become swinging more in that direction than it is about my own running. While I've had a lot of fun with my own running, but I do feel like it's more getting towards the time to serve others.

Q. Congrats, guys. Shalane, I was wondering if you could describe for us how it felt to gain on Rahma Tusa and realize that you were reeling her in and could take home another podium spot.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, that was a lot of motivation kind of dangling out there as a carrot seeing her. So I was trying to bide my time once we hit the park, use my knowledge of the park because I've trained in here quite a bit and raced in here. I was able to run the tangent lines a little better than her I noticed, and then just passed her pretty aggressively and confidently and was able to essentially deflate her balloon.

So that was a huge motivation to try to get in the top three just because my standards for New York are pretty high with a second and a first, and I just thought, you know, if this truly is going to be my last race, a podium spot really would be special.

Q. Is there anything specific about this course that you really feels plays to your strengths, Shalane? As you said, you've had a very strong history here.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, I don't know exactly what it is. I think it's a little bit of a Fartlek course, a little bit of broken rhythm with the hills and the ups and the downs. And I think, if I do get myself in trouble, I'm able to kind of recover on the run, I've noticed, maybe more so. I don't know. I've described it as just having chemistry with New York, and I can't really pinpoint it, but I just do.

THE MODERATOR: Much has been made over what Shalane will do next, for good reason, but I want to ask Molly and Des, what will you do next? Molly, I know you've had this great success on the track and the roads. Is there a point where you move to the roads permanently?

MOLLY HUDDLE: I definitely want to run a spring marathon and try and run like a faster course, but it would be great if I could -- I probably won't run a fall marathon between then and the Olympic Trials marathon. So it would be great to try to make the 10K team for Doha, and, of course, if I don't make the marathon team for the Olympics, I'll try on the track. So I may never be done with the track. Who knows?

SHALANE FLANAGAN: I recommend not. Just saying.

THE MODERATOR: To Shalane's point, it's been 45 minutes since they finished, so maybe not a fair question, but, Des, this is a new beginning for your career.

DESIREE LINDEN: Yes. Next for me is lunch. I didn't really think past today. I kind of circled the big thing, put all the eggs in the basket, and focused on that. Going to go do lunch, celebrate, recover, and see where my head's at and then make decisions moving forward.

Q. Molly and Des, how much time will you take off after this just to kind of recover?
DESIREE LINDEN: That's a good question. Typically in the past, it was two to three weeks. With a different coach, so he might have totally different idea. We'll sit down and talk about it, but that has been what I've done. I have no idea what he's going to have in store.

MOLLY HUDDLE: Yeah, I'll probably take two to three weeks also. I was pretty tired in this buildup, so I don't want to rush into the next one.

Q. Could you just describe what a talent Mary Keitany is and just how powerful she is as an athlete.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, she's going to go down as one of the greatest marathoners ever and of our generation, I would say. Her consistency at a really high level. She rarely has an off day. Yeah, the way she can execute and just really crush her competition over the last half of a race is incredible. She's a rare athlete and one to be celebrated.

MOLLY HUDDLE: Yeah, when Mary makes a move, it's such a hard move that I would probably label her maybe one of the only women that could go for the world record right now in the marathon. When you're running against that talent level, I guess that kind of a second half is not that surprising, like what she ran here. So she can throw down for sure.

DESIREE LINDEN: I watched the 2012 London Marathon from the press truck, and she had -- maybe it was '11. '11 or '12, but she pulled away from everyone that day, and you knew you were watching something special and someone special, and she just did it with ease, and that was several years ago. She hasn't lost a step. She's only gotten better with more experience and with age. It's truly incredible. Yeah, I think that's the only word for her is incredible.

THE MODERATOR: Mary Keitany, the world record holder, but there is someone in this room that's beat her before. Des Linden, Molly Huddle, and Shalane Flanagan, your top three American women in today's TCS New York City Marathon.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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