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November 1, 2009

Christelle Daunay

Ludmila Petrova

Derartu Tulu


THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the news conference for the top three women at the ING New York City Marathon 2009. Fabulous day here in New York with plenty of surprises and exciting moments. We certainly had our share of them in the women's race. We're crowning a new champion today, Derartu Tulu, first Ethiopian woman to win. We welcome back to the 1, 2 and 3 position, Ludmila Petrova, who is probably our most durable and consistent performers, second here for the second year in a row, Ludmila was also our 2000 champion, so there is tremendous consistency there. We welcome our first leading French finisher and woman to the podium in several years, I think in almost 20 years, but we'll check on that, Christelle Daunay who ran a fabulous and very gritty race.

Q. I'm going to ask each of the ladies to start with a comment. Then we'll open it up for questions.
DERARTU TULU: In general I'm extremely happy to have won today's race. I did not come here necessarily expecting to win. But I did expect that I would be a strong competitor, and I'm very happy to have won.
THE MODERATOR: Ludmila? Second here again, and again, this seems to be your favorite spot.
LUDMILA PETROVA: I'm happy again for my 25 years. But in masters I am second. How I can be not happy.
THE MODERATOR: Christelle?
CHRISTELLE DAUNAY: For the first time I come in New York I'm very satisfied with my third place. I came here to win, and I did everything I could, but the other two competitors were better than me.
THE MODERATOR: I'll ask one question then we'll open it up. To each of the three ladies. Paula Radcliffe was here. She was the two-time defending champion, had won here three times. How surprised or how did you feel out there when you sort of took the lead from Paula? Were you surprised? What did you sort of see out there to each of the ladies starting here.
DERARTU TULU: Paula is someone with whom I have competed a great many times. I have beaten her on the track and cross country. But in the marathon, let alone to beat her, I have never even been able to run very far with her. The most I think I've been able to keep up with her is 10 to 15 kilometers. So I had always hoped that I would one day finish close to her.
In today's race I was disappointed to see her falling back and struggling. I actually tried to encourage her to get her to keep up with us. At some point it was clear that she was not able to do so, and I'm actually disappointed that she was not able to run that well. However, Paula is a really great athlete. I know that she has many more great races in her, and she will be back to do great races in the future.
LUDMILA PETROVA: Paula is strong for me always. I think she has some problems with her hills only, she will be back to run fast again.
CHRISTELLE DAUNAY: Like the other two competitors said, I think Paula is a fantastic runner. It has been an honor to run against her today. I think she was maybe not in top shape, but I still hope to run with her many other times.

Q. It's very special that you're here. Please tell us what this exceptional victory here in New York means to you?
CHRISTELLE DAUNAY: It's true that after the Paris Marathon when I did a time of it 2 hours 25 minutes I was ready to come here to the New York Marathon, which is the biggest, most important marathon.
I was very up to compete against Paula, and I'm very proud of my third place here.

Q. When you were 20 years old you made history by winning the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona, the first African woman to do so; 17 years later, what kind of significance does this victory have for you and where do you think it fits in your legacy of the sport?
DERARTU TULU: That's correct. When I ran in Barcelona, however, I saw it like any other race. I had trained, I competed and I won. I didn't have great expectations or worry a great deal about it beforehand. I wasn't that aware of the history of being the first Ethiopian or African woman, and I hadn't thought about any of those things.
After that, however, I learned what place it had in history, and I hope to repeat that in Atlanta, but I was not successful. However, I was able to succeed again in Sydney.
Now that I'm much older, I'm 37 years old, I'm a mother of two, and I've also been out of the sport for some time, so to have been able to come back after all of that and to accomplish this tells me what it is possible to do at any age. If you work at it, if you're determined, you can be a good competitor. I am hoping not only to continue to do well here, but to also be back in London and to run there. And I hope to be able to bring another victory for my country, so I hope you will be there to ask me the same question.

Q. How gratifying is it to win in New York, particularly after, you know, motherhood and the layoff and really having to come back?
DERARTU TULU: I am extremely happy. After giving birth to my second child, I've run three marathons. I ran in London, Tokyo, and Nagano. Two of them I finished in 2 hours and 36 minutes, and one of them in 2:34. So when things like that happen, sometimes you start to give up hope, but you have to have patience. I'm extremely happy today I was able to succeed.
What gave me part of that motivation is I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon. And for 21k, I ran 1 hour and 10 minutes, and that told me that I am okay, and I decided to run here.
So since then I went back home and I trained really hard. As I said earlier, I didn't really expect to win here, but I did know that I could be a good competitor and I planned to fight until the very end. It turned out it was God's will that I should win, and I am extremely happy.
Correction, it wasn't London; it was Madrid the third marathon that I ran.

Q. When did you go back to full training? How much time did you take off doing very little training? And how much training have you been doing recently?
DERARTU TULU: It's been three years since I gave birth to my second child. During that time I struggled a great deal even to lose weight and to regain my endurance. I had gained up to 18 kilos, and it took me a great deal of time to lose that weight.
Though I have not had any good results during that time, however, I have never stopped training. I have been training continuously.

Q. What are the ages and names of your children?
DERARTU TULU: My first daughter is 11 years old, her name is Tsion; and my second daughter's three years old, her name is Ruth.
Please also don't forget the other four children that I have raised. Because I have raised them as if they were my children as well. Their names Tesfaye is a boy, he's 15 years old; then there is a girl, Sisay who is 13; DeGafe is nine; and the Neaol boy is 12.

Q. The pace particularly seemed a little on the slow side, particularly through the first half of the race. Was it because they were all reacting to Paula or was it because of the wind or anything else?
CHRISTELLE DAUNAY: Actually, the race started with Paula's rhythm which was maybe a bit slow at the beginning, but we all followed this rhythm. And the 20th kilometer I tried to attack and make the difference, but I didn't quite manage. And personally, the wind did bother me.
LUDMILA PETROVA: Since I'm a master runner I wasn't going to set the time. I wasn't going to be a pace setter. I was just going to -- my goal was to keep up.
DERARTU TULU: As you all know, Paula's pace normally is a lot faster than this. She would have gone a lot faster if she had been in perfect shape. But I personally felt the wind was there and it prevented me from going faster.

Q. When it was down to four runners, did you feel confident in your chances at that point?
DERARTU TULU: In general the pace was rather slow as you have seen. In those conditions, whether there are four or five of us left, I know that I have better speed than those others who are in the field, so I knew that I had a good chance. However, I was only certain after about 35 kilometers.
THE MODERATOR: We thank our champion, our runner up, and our third place, our gold, our silver and our bronze medalist in this year's race.

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