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October 30, 2008

Catherine Ndereba


Q. Have you done anything different this year? You've never had a chance to focus on New York City; coming off all the world championships, the Olympics, there's always been something in the summer. But now for the most part almost everyone in the race now, the top people are coming off Beijing, so everyone in that sense is a little bit compromised running more than they would be. Has your buildup been different this time for New York City than it's been in the past? Do you feel more or less ready than you have in the past?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: No, everything is just like usual. It's only that after the Olympics I didn't get to do like much more as I always do. So I tried to recover for like three weeks and then I was getting back to my normal training.

Q. And your legs and your recovery is --
CATHERINE NDEREBA: My legs feel good, and I feel fully recovered. I hope to have a good race on Sunday.

Q. And how was the Philadelphia Half Marathon performance? How important or not important was that?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: It was important. In fact, I didn't have much training for it, so I had to stop training for like three weeks to just see how I feel, and to run 1:10 in Philadelphia gave me kind of a hint that, oh, I can be able to do it.

Q. Mary described the field here as the toughest women's field in the history of the New York City Marathon. You've run 19 marathons. Looking at this field, is it the toughest field you've faced in what will be your 20th?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I think it's one of the toughest. It's good that everybody is here, and it seems like everybody is coming from somewhere, so I think it will be a good race.

Q. Was it true that in the Olympic Games you didn't realize that Constantina had broken clear from you?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Yeah, it's really true. Everybody can take it the way they want to take it, but I never saw her like breaking because I was running from behind. But everybody in the group, in the leading pack, of which I consider very silly, that everybody knew she was ahead but nobody cares to chase her.

Q. So because you were at the back of that group, you didn't actually see --
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I never noticed. By the time I got up with the leading pack, I just felt like everybody is here. So we just kept running and thinking like we are the leading pack. Not until we passed 41 kilometers did I realize that somebody else was running on the other side. It was kind of a silly thing, it didn't hit my mind, where is the leader. When I saw the press truck following her, I said, okay, this is somebody who is in the race, and there was nobody else than Constantina. So I tried so hard to close that gap, but unfortunately --

Q. Coming up to 41 kilometers you thought you were about to become the Olympic champion?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Yeah, but I knew that gap was too big. The time that was remaining or the distance that was remaining, if it was farther than one kilometer to go, I knew I could make it. But with that much, there was nothing much I could do. But I tried my best, and I still feel proud about it.

Q. Earlier in the race you were sitting some way off of the group, so what I'm saying is that you weren't in that leading group the whole time? If you had been, you would have seen Constantina get away; you were running at the back of that leading group, were you?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Yeah, I just started feeling not very good, and my back was really stiff and it was very humid. I just had to run my own race, so I don't blame anybody.

Q. You've run Chicago, too. Compare this course to Chicago.
CATHERINE NDEREBA: No comparison, because Chicago Marathon is kind of a nice, flat layout, and this course is something that has many hills and bridges. I think New York is the toughest of all I've ever run.

Q. A lot of runners will go to Chicago because it's easier and they can make faster times. Why do you want to come here?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Why I do want to come here, because I like this race, and I didn't want to go back to Chicago because that was too close to the Olympic marathon.

Q. I think this is only like the eighth time you've run against Paula, something like that?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I don't know, I don't count.

Q. I mean, you've both been around a long time now. Would you have liked to have raced against her more?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Oh, definitely. She's a competitor like any other, so I can create my own race. Paula is someone that likes to race me in a race, so why don't I race against her.

Q. How would you feel about the idea if they alternated -- some runners want to run Chicago and some want to run here and some want to run Berlin, if they alternated -- all the top women run here one year and one year in Chicago?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: You see, it's not a must because if you look for something like the Olympics, we go and everybody is there. So when we meet here, it also means a lot. Because if you look for those different races, everybody wants to have the best. And I think that's what the New York Roadrunners want, to have the best. And I like the way they choose the originals.

Q. How would you feel if all the best were in Chicago one year and the next year all the best were here? Would that be a good idea?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I don't think I can say about that because it all depends on each and every athlete, each and every manager and all that stuff. Because for me, wherever I go, I'll have to sit down with my coach and my manager and have to decide. Anything that I do, it's a decision of three people.

Q. Could you talk about the race for the World Marathon Majors title? It's out of your control, I suppose. Depends how Gete goes. Is that a significant part of your thinking as you go into the race on Sunday?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I've never gotten that in my mind, not even a single time. Whenever I do my races, I don't like plan my races according to that thing. I don't think about it.

Q. But if you were to end up being the champion of the World Marathon Majors --
CATHERINE NDEREBA: It not a must. It hasn't been a big deal to me.

Q. What do you think is the most special thing you've ever done in your life, running or not running? You've had such an amazing life.
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I guess the running and being able to achieve what I've been able to achieve, it means the most. When I was in school, I really liked to run, and I didn't think like I can be able to run after school. What I can thank God for is that he enabled me or he opened up ways that I could be able to excel in athletics.

Q. So it's a big shock for you to look at your life and your humble beginnings to where you are now?

Q. Do you have you have anything left to learn from the marathon? Of course Beijing was a very hard lesson for you, and you are very experienced, so I guess I'm surprised that after so many marathons you were caught by surprise. But do you think there's anything else you can learn in your career, or do you know it all now?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Each and every experience, each and every moment is a learning moment.

Q. And you've never won New York, of course. You said earlier that you've won most titles, but New York has eluded you, so it's important for you, this race?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Yeah, it's as important as any other race. If I win New York, I just count it as if it was Olympic gold, of which I've not gotten tired of looking forward to it.

Q. Will you go to another Olympics?

Q. Well, I suppose I'm bound to ask the question. You're 36 now.
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Yeah, I'm 36, but age is just but a number. I believe I'm as young as I feel.

Q. Two Olympics?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Two Olympics, and I still have room for more.

Q. You nearly qualified in '96 for the 10,000 meter, just missed.
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I just missed. I've been trying to qualify for it, but unfortunately I missed two times, 1996 and 2000.

Q. How much longer do you think you can continue to run at this level?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Well, as long as I stay healthy, no problem.

Q. But there must come a time when age defeats you. Do you have any idea when that age might be?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: I go according to the word of God in the book of Psalms 92. It says, even at our old age, we shall continue flourishing; we can remain green as the palm tree and we shall be able to bear fruit, so I shall not limit God. And I believe that my running career is a God-given gift, so I don't have to put any limit.

Q. Which book was that?

Q. What would it mean to you to finally win here?
CATHERINE NDEREBA: Well, it means a lot. It means a lot. I don't even have words to explain. I've won all the other races in the United States, but it is only in New York I have not been able to win. But hopefully one day I will be able to win.

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