November 3, 2002
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Immediately to my left is Krige Schabort. Behind me is Franz Nietlispach from Switzerland. On my far left is Cheri Blauwet from Tucson, Arizona. They are here for the following reason: Franz was actually the overall winner and the first in the handscycle with the time of 1:26:57, which is a new New York City Marathon and course record. Krige was first in the men's push rim wheelchair category, wheelchair division also with a new New York City Marathon and course record of 1:38:29. And Cheri was the winner in the women's wheelchair division with a time of 2:14:40. The other women's winner, Helene Hines, won for the third straight year in the handcycle division this year, with a time of 1:59:26 and somehow we lost Helene on the way over here. But I hear she is coming over but I don't know if she will make it in time. Other than that it was a terrific race particularly given weather that we thought would not be good for the chairs, I think they can tell you whether it was good from the lead car it looked good and we had a terrific -- I don't think we had much of a race from the beginning. In the end, it was just too fast for everyone. We had a terrific race for the first part of the men's wheelchair between Krige and Ernst Van Dyk, who is the 2001, 2002 Boston Marathon winner. At some point Krige, he can tell you, just broke away from him, and Cheri will have to tell you whether she had any competition. Other than that I guess, we will open it for questions.
Q. Maybe Cheri could start telling us , did you have some competition, Cheri, after the first mile?
CHERI BLAUWET: Francesca from Italy pushed with me for the first part and after that I maintained the lead from the front. I wasn't sure how close she was behind me, so I kept keeping the pace high in case she was catching me, but it turned out that --
MODERATOR: The last-year winner and who came in second in the wheelchair division this year.
Q. Cheri and Krige, you both train in warmer weather, how did the weather affect you today?
KRIGE NIETLISPACH: It was on the cool side, but I have done a couple marathons this year, Twin Cities and I have done Columbus and they were all cold marathons. So was more or less I was prepared for it, but it was tough, especially on the bridges when you go down hill, you feel it, but I managed.
CHERI BLAUWET: We have been training quite early in the morning and it's actually pretty chilly that time of day, so in that way I was quite prepared. And I did a race as well a few weeks ago that was also quite cold in Japan and it was wet. I find that as long as it's not raining, if the conditions are dry then the cold is much easier to deal with. So it wasn't too bad.
Q. Franz, for the twist and turns in the course, does that make it more difficult than other long races for you?
FRANZ NIETLISPACH: You always have to slow down for the turns and we have some fast downhills, but you have to break after the downhills or you lose a lot of time. But we always have a view to the turns, so it was not dangerous because I could see the turn. I could slow down, so it was not really dangerous.
Q. How do you feel about making $500 less than Krige for doing the race?
FRANZ NIETLISPACH: I think that will maybe, will change in the future in the handcycle division. I think that was bigger than the wheelchair division and a lot of wheelchair races switch to handcycle. Like me, I was a wheelchair racer 'til the summer. Now, I switched to hand cycles. Handcycles are becoming more and more popular. In Europe we have 150 races in the European handcycle circuit, so it's very interesting and we go faster and faster almost every month.
CHERI BLAUWET: Columbus, Ohio was the last one. The course record time of 1:27:13.
Q. What was the difference between that course and this one?
CHERI BLAUWET: Columbus is flat and a lot less potholes. This is a tough course. Columbus is real easy to go. You can set your pace where when you have potholes it's really hard to maintain high speed.
Q. Did you hit many potholes today?
CHERI BLAUWET: Yeah, I did but, luckily, no flat tires. Last year, I had a flat tire at mile 13. Then I fixed my tire put a new one on as I was going down the third bridge, Willis Avenue Bridge, sharp turn, the tire rolled I had another flat tire and I didn't finish the ride.
Q. Why did you switch from wheelchair to handcycle?
FRANZ NIETLISPACH: I think it's a new challenge, and my boy he's twelve years old he's a good training partner for me, and with the handcycle similarly fast and I can join the bicycle races. I feel more safe with the handcycle, and I did a long time, the wheelchair racing for a long time. It is a new challenge for me.
MODERATOR: Franz was, I think, five- or six-time Boston Marathon wheelchair champion, so he's pretty much done it all, and handcycle is a new division. I think we are recognizing it, and I think it has a future. But it's still a new division. Part of the group races and likes to be considered in the bicycle category, part of the group likes to be considered in the running or wheelchair category. It's something new and we are watching it's development. I didn't mention before she got here that the winner for the third year in a row in the women's handcycle category was Helene Hines. She is here, and if anyone has a question for her, this is the time to ask it.
Q. Helene, do you want to comment just -- do you want to comment on whatever controversy there might be about racing against push-rim wheelchairs?
HELENE HINES: What I think is happening is the handcycling is taking over because we keep getting people with different disabilities who are able to participate in it, and we are getting paraplegics and quads and we are getting people that ordinarily could not last that long with regular wheelchairs. It's hard for your wrist and for your shoulders. It's a great exercise and it's a lot of fun. Now I have got the triple crown, so I got kissed by the mayor at the start of the race and I am waiting for Bob to kiss me tonight.
MODERATOR: I play neutral.
Q. Triple crown in what?
HELENE HINES: I won three times.
End of FastScripts...