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November 5, 2006

Mary Wittenberg


Q. Talk about the incredible story lines and how they played out this year.
MARY WITTENBERG: You cannot script sport. I thought the races were stirring in that there were surprises at every turn. I was shocked on the course. Very early on at 10k, Ramaala is 20 feet back from the pack and Baldini looked like he was really struggling.

Q. The women's race was surprising today in how it played out, can you talk about how tactically odd that was?
MARY WITTENBERG: Well, part of it, it struck me as a men's race. I think now that the women's field has gotten so deep and full of stars, it's like the men where despite the best weather we've seen in ten years, nobody went. They all watched each other and didn't go with the pacer. So from that perspective, it made me think, this is like a men's race or a tactical Olympic race in that they are more concerned about each other, because they all know they have got a superstar to their right and to their left.
And I think what can happen in a race like that, when our top women go through the half, at close to 1:14, that is not a pace they are accustomed to and it's hard to shift gears off of it. Hats off to Jelena for making a move and getting away.

Q. Can you talk about the world marathon majors and the effect it's had?
MARY WITTENBERG: I think the world marathon majors had an effect, in that all athletes are trying to elevate their profile and put more money into the sport. I think watching this over a two-year period emphasizes, again the intrigue of the marathon. You cannot call any race. You can be shocked with every finish. And the theory of the world marathon majors was in part due to that fact that on any given day, anyone can win the race; that this would give us a chance to look over a two-year period and look at who the dominant runners are and see who our best runners are over a two-year period, and you can look beyond any one day.

Q. There was so much attention put on Deena's race, can you talk about the level of pressure and how she responded?
MARY WITTENBERG: I congratulate Deena for choosing New York. Deena could have made easier choices. She could have made better choices that would give her a better shot at being higher on the world marathon leaders board and winning the race. But she came where the strongest competition was. We put a lot of pressure on her. I think she's got the shoulders to bear it. I don't think people question putting pressure on Derek Jeter and stars in other sports. So I would say we are going to continue to raise the profile of these athletes, and I think it was just a bad day for Deena. I think she's absolutely up to the pressure. I think she's absolutely up to the field. And I think it was just unfortunately not her day.
THE MODERATOR: Some closing remarks on today. I know the race is still in progress and will be going on for several more hours and a very busy evening into the night and tomorrow morning as well.
MARY WITTENBERG: I think we had a banner weather day. The tens of thousands of runners that are coming in now are quite pleased. They look like they are having a good experience. The charity reached an -- have surpassed all expectations for us.
Lance Armstrong, I think he beat a lot of odds today and impressed a lot of people. I certainly was impressed with his result today.

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