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November 4, 2007

Jelena Prokopcuka

Gete Wami


THE MODERATOR: Pleased to have our runner-up here with us today, our women's runner up, Gete Wami, and also our two-time defending champion Jelena Prokpocuka, who finished third. We'll start with Jelena with a comment about today's race and then we'll open it up for questions.
JELENA PROKPOCUKA: I'm very happy today because I won the third place. It wasn't easy for me today, and my leg wasn't good today. But I'm happy because the weather was nice, and my competition was amazing today. I'm really happy, and I didn't win the marathon major, but as I said, if I don't win, it doesn't make me unhappy than now because I'm happy I'm two-time New York City Marathon Champion, so I'm happy, and my congratulations to Wami. She's the champion of the marathon major, and my congratulations to Paula Radcliffe, who is the champion today.
GETE WAMI: Running a marathon in 35 days and coming in second, I feel was quite an achievement for me, and I'm happy to have done that.
And secondly, I'm also very happy to have won the marathon majors, and having run the New York City Marathon for the first time, coming in second also has made me happy and proud.
THE MODERATOR: Just one note, the World Marathon Majors, the final points standings, Gete Wami has 80 points, Jelena has 65. Gete does win the $500,000 first place purse and will be honored at a world marathon majors champions' luncheon tomorrow here at Central Park at the boathouse. We can give you more details about that later.

Q. Gete, in the final half mile when Paula made her final surge, do you think because you had run another marathon only 30 days earlier you did not have enough in your legs to match her final surge?
GETE WAMI: Yes, running a second marathon in 35 days did make a difference to me. And yes, when Paula made the move, I found it difficult to catch up to her. And at that point around the 25th mile, I also was feeling some stomachache. I was feeling a bit nauseous, and I still feel proud despite that I came in second.

Q. Gete, why did you make your move to pass Paula, and if you had to do it again, would you, in the last half mile or so?
GETE WAMI: One thing I didn't mention before, Paula also ran a good race. That was in answer to the last question.
I tried to pass her at that moment, but she was just too strong, and I just can't second-guess myself at this point why I made that attempt to pass her. But she responded, and I was unable to catch up to her.

Q. Jelena, after Paula and Gete made their breakaway move I think around four miles or so, did you think about trying to catch them, to go after them at that point? And when did you think in your mind that they were too far ahead to catch?
JELENA PROKPOCUKA: Today before the race I thought I had to run first half of marathon 1:12, no faster. But when I saw the first five K, I understood that fast is more faster than 2:12. So I decided to do my pace and to do the best I could last 15, 20 kilometers.

Q. As sort of a follow-up to Jim's question to Gete again, as soon as you made that move at just under 26 miles, Paula responded as though all the life went out of your legs. Was that the last gas in the tank?
GETE WAMI: Yes, indeed. While running you tend to feel tired, and at that moment I was also feeling my stomachache, and I just couldn't do it. She just kept on.

Q. Jelena, what exactly was your hip injury, and how much did it affect you today?
JELENA PROKPOCUKA: I felt in my leg after the first mile, and I felt it during the race all the time. I'm happy that it wasn't so bad, yes, but I feel it, especially only 25 or 26 K, it was a little bit stronger than before. But I'm happy that I could -- I was able to finish this race because I hoped that my leg would be okay today, but it wasn't. But that's life. But I'm happy that I was able to finish.
THE MODERATOR: Was it your left hip or your right hip?

Q. Gete, was running a marathon twice in five weeks harder on easier than you thought it was going to be, and would you do it again?
GETE WAMI: Indeed in 35 days I anticipated that I would run well because I had trained well. Thank God my results came well, as well, and God willing, if I maintain myself, I could see myself doing it again.

Q. Gete, after the finish line, I believe you were holding Paula's baby for a few minutes. What were you thinking at that time holding her?
GETE WAMI: I love kids, and I have one of my own, and so when I saw Paula's child I felt attached. I felt love for her, and I just wanted to hug and kiss her, and I felt happy that it was Paula's child, as well. It was just instinct.
THE MODERATOR: Is it a boy or girl.
GETE WAMI: My child's name is Eva, and she's four years old.

Q. Gete, what will you do with the $500,000 (laughter)?
GETE WAMI: Like anyone, I would like to put it to good use in my country, hopefully for something productive at home.

Q. How hard was it for you to recover from childbirth, and how long -- do you appreciate what Paula has done in her own recovery?
GETE WAMI: When I had my child, it took me about three, four years to recover. It was difficult. I had leg pain, I had back pain, as well, and I was impressed that Paula was able to train during her pregnancy and even more impressed that so soon after the pregnancy she was able to perform well and to win.

Q. Gete, we realize that with the two wins this fall, you have also taken a very big lead for next year's World Marathon Majors.
GETE WAMI: Today is today, and no one knows what's going to come tomorrow or what's going to happen tomorrow. Yes, I feel encouraged that I won the Marathon Majors this time around, and if God gives me health and God willing, I look forward to racing, and I hope I come out well in the second Marathon Majors, as well.
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to thank our two fine athletes, our former two-time defending champion Jelena Prokpocuka and Gete Wami for their fabulous performances today. Thank you, and we'll have, I believe, Lance Armstrong in in a second.

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