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November 7, 1999

Helene Hines

Miguel Such


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?


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 living.

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 go?

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 nowadays.

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.

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