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November 7, 1999
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
MODERATOR: There are two winners here. First of all, let me introduce Miguel Such who
is our elite athlete in the wheelchair; his time two hours no minutes, 38 seconds. He is
from Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania.
Q. How old are you?
MIGUEL SUCH: I am 25.
Q. How long have you been competing as an elite wheelchair athlete. I am a professional
wheelchair racer. I have raced in Australia, Japan, Europe, all over the U.S. I have raced
in the L.A. marathon, the Boston Marathon, Chicago, and again it is what I do for a
MIGUEL SUCH: I am sure you guys are aware of the lawsuit we have got going on here with
Bickel and Brewer. We are just here to educate you guys about the wheelchair division.
Wheelchair racing I think we have it has been long overdue here for the New York City
Marathon. We have to establish it here, the wheelchair division, and I know you guys have
this Achilles Club which is good, but you need an official wheelchair division here. By
doing that we eliminate all these other problems and it is just we need an official
wheelchair division. We have got to look at these other marathons and see where wheelchair
racing has developed to.
Q. Would you tell us how the course was today? Were there any problems? How did it all
MIGUEL SUCH: I know last year the big deal was that they stopped the wheelchair
athletes for 30 minutes. This year it seems like they are working on some of it. They
didn't -- as far as I know nobody was stopped. But when I crossed the finish line, the
crowd was really into it. They seemed like they really enjoyed to see the wheelchair race
come through. There was no ribbon though. I had no ribbon to cross through. When I went
down by the finish by the Achilles little thing, it was kinds of more the atmosphere there
was almost like a pat on the back, you did a good job, see you later. Again, I participate
in these big races. It is a wheel total different story.
Q. Helene, congratulations to you. Where are you from?
HELENE HINES: Ledo Beach, Long Island.
Q. Miguel, could you talk about the other races, how they have it set up?
MIGUEL SUCH: It seems you know, like I guess my job here is to educate you guys about
wheelchair racing. It has been established in running races many years ago that when you
go to L.A. more than they have got an official -- the three most influence races in the
United States are L.A., Boston and New York City. L.A. and Boston seem like they have got
the official wheelchair division with the official prize money and press coverage, but the
New York City Marathon it is kind of like there is really not any press coverage. This is
the first year I think it is because of what is going on behind -- with the lawsuit. There
is no prize money and again it is like almost a pat on the back, we will see you later.
This is not wheelchair racing right here with -- I am not here to offend anybody, but this
is a hand crank and it is not wheelchair racing. They do participate -- hand cranks do
participate in running races but wheelchair racing is the disc wheels in the back, the
front wheel in the front and it is one gear. That is wheelchair racing. You guys can do
your research on some of these other marathons. That is what wheelchair racing does
HELENE HINES: Okay. My turn. I have run 27 marathons on my feet. I have M. S. For 21
years I could not use your kind of wheelchair because I have vertigo and I cannot lean
over because I would fall on my head. To me using a handbike is a way of moving. It is a
way of making me happy and I can move again. I was a physical education teacher. I am now
teaching wellness centers in Long Beach at the Sunrise Center. For me to be able to get
out and do this it is a lot of work. It is weight lifting three times a week it is
swimming and working at this and I have been a member of the Achilles Club for ten years.
I have won numerous awards. But there is nothing as exciting when you can't move for the
last six months because you can't run anymore and you get out there and you use a hand
bike and I will tell you it is damn hard. I had incredible volunteers and I don't know I
lost them somewhere along the way and they probably should be different divisions because
there are different ways, but I couldn't have worked any harder if I was pushing this way
or that way or running I put my very, very best into it and I would love to get a coach
and train and be professional like you. I would like to go around and travel and do this
and tell people that with disabilities, we can do things and there is nothing to stop us.
So I would like to get out there, but to say that I am not doing a wheelchair isn't really
fair because my arms work just as hard as yours did and I cannot balance the same way you
can so everybody's disability is different.
End of FastScripts...