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October 29, 2009

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Mary Wittenberg


RICHARD FINN: We're celebrating the 40th running of the New York City Marathon. We think it's a very special occasion. To show you a little bit of our history, we'd like you to turn your attention to the screens.
[Video playing]
We feel it's a very special year this year, and to talk more, Mary Wittenberg.
MARY WITTENBERG: Today we celebrate the Americans. We celebrate those who have already made history change the sport forever, like Joanie, with their success. And we celebrate those seeking to make history of their own.
And we begin today with Joan Benoit Samuelson, and it's our incredible honor to host you, Joanie. 25 years since L.A., since that ground-breaking run. As we can all remember you running into the Olympic stadium.
What is amazing to me what I love is the story today that 25 years later, look across this room -- Steve Jones could probably chime in here -- not many are still racing competitively 25 years later after having the career you've had. We're just so, so pleased to have you.
Joanie is incredibly special to us here in New York, and has been here when it's mattered most. 2001, after 9/11, Joanie called and said I've got to be there, and she was here as part of our USA Championships and really as part of the overall event. And this year with our 40th running, it's an important year to us. It's an important year especially as we bring our best American men here to have legends in our sport here and as part of it.
And there's really no American woman that means as much to this sport today than Joan Benoit Samuelson. So, Joanie, welcome. You're looking really fit. How are you feeling going into Sunday?
JOAN BENOIT SAMUELSON: Well, thank you, Mary, for your kind words. I'm delighted to be back here in New York City for the 40th running of the ING New York City Marathon. To me this is a celebratory occasion. It's all about being able to tow the line 25 years after my win in L.A., and also to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of this great event here in the big apple.
MARY WITTENBERG: We're going to take a couple questions from Joanie. I know a lot of media had time before, which is good. So any questions? I'm going to ask just one.

Q. What is the goal for Sunday?
JOAN BENOIT SAMUELSON: To finish. That was a great video, very inspiring. I'll just say I'd like to run well. I've put a lot of pressure on myself before the Olympic trials in Boston a year ago by wanting to run a sub 2:50 at 50-plus. I'm not going to put that pressure on myself. But suffice to say, I've never run over 3 hours, and I've never dropped out of a race. So hopefully that won't happen here in New York.

Q. I love it. And your friend Lance Armstrong who was so committed to find a way to be part of this race, he'll join you tonight, right?
JOAN BENOIT SAMUELSON: I believe so. Mary didn't want him pacing me by jumping in, and it's probably just as well. I always tell people it's important to run their own races. I don't know if I'd be able to keep up with lance in the early stages so.

Q. I was worried the other way. Lance then called and said I've got to be there I've got to support Joanie. I'm excited about Paula. So he's going to be there tonight at the New York Times when Joanie and Deena and Grete will be talking. So, again, everybody had a lot of time with Joanie. And I want to make sure you know that Joanie's headed off to the Expo. So if anyone needs anymore, last chance.
Great. Well, I've got to say it means so much to have you here, Joanie. And all of our New York runners, you know, we all talk a lot about the race. So many people are talking about you being here. We've got all the people that are hoping to run from sub 2:50 to 3 hours. They all want to know when you're going to run, and I won't tell anybody because we want you to be able to be out there and run as you want to run. But everybody's looking to see if they can be anywhere near Joan Benoit Samuelson?
JOAN BENOIT SAMUELSON: Well, thanks, Mary. I'm glad I'm here for the 40th, because I'm not going to make any promises for the 50th.
MARY WITTENBERG: We're going to count on you though. All right, we'll ask our American men to come up.

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