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November 4, 2010

Christelle Daunay

Teyba Erkesso

Sam Grotewold

Mary Keitany

Kim Smith

Derartu Tulu


SAM GROTEWOLD: First, I'd like to welcome Derartu Tulu. There are not enough superlatives in the world to describe this athlete. Not only is she the defending ING New York City Marathon champion, she's a two-time Olympic Gold Medallist. She was the first Ethiopian woman ever to win the ING New York City Marathon, and the first Olympic champion in any event, male or female, to ever win the ING New York City Marathon.
On top of that, she's a mother of six. Two children are her own, and recently in the last year, year and a half, she adopted four other children. So she's quite a busy woman.
To her left is Teyba Erkesso who broke the course record at the Chevron Houston Marathon in January, and 90 days later waged a thrilling battle with fellow ING New York City Marathon entrant Tatyana Pushkareva, to capture the Boston Marathon.
To her left is an athlete we've had our eye on for a couple of years and we happened to be out in Birmingham England last year to watch her capture the Gold Medal at the IWAF World Half Marathon championships.
When we saw that run, we knew she was ready, and we're thrilled that she's chosen New York City to make her debut, we welcome Mary Keitany of Kenya.
To her left is Kim Smith of New Zealand. Living in Providence, Rhode Island. Kim is one of our favorite athletes. Has been on a tear this year. At the Virgin London Marathon broke the New Zealand national marathon record which I count as her tenth national record, and had a great race in Philadelphia at the ING Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in September.
At the very end is one of the most pleasant surprises of the ING New York City Marathon 2009, Christelle Daunay of France. She knows the course now after her third-place finish here last year, and incredible form, breaking the French marathon record in Paris in April, and the French half marathon record just a few weeks ago. So we welcome all of these women.
RICHARD FINN: Thank you. We'll go through the same routine here.
Derartu, you're coming in here as the defending champion. Is there more pressure, less pressure? How do you feel about coming in as the defending champion?
DERARTU TULU: I'm very happy to be back here at the New York City Marathon. Any time you've won a race and compete, you hope to try to win. So I hope like anyone else that I'll have a chance to win, and that is what I'm hoping to do.
RICHARD FINN: Mary Keitany. Mary, Tegla Loroupe was the last champion here to win in her first marathon. Mary, many people think that record might fall on Sunday. Your thoughts about making your marathon debut and your chances on Sunday?
MARY KEITANY: Thank you very much. I'm happy to be here at New York Marathon because I know it's my first time, so I think I will run on Sunday and I think I will run good, and thank you.
RICHARD FINN: Thank you, Mary. Teyba, only one woman has ever won Boston and New York in the same year, that was Miki Gorman back in 1977. What do you think of your chances? Is that something that's very exciting for you to think about that when you get to the race on Sunday?
TEYBA ERKESSO: First of all, I want to thank the organizers of the New York Marathon for inviting me, both the people of New York and the organizers. Next I'd like to say that everyone works to try to achieve good results. And if the creator is on my side, I will try to win as well. However, the other competitors here are very tough, but I will do my best.
RICHARD FINN: Kim, as Sam said, you've had a great season so far. You're returning and had a great strong London Marathon. You're coming back to New York, your thoughts coming into the race against this great field?
KIM SMITH: Yeah, I'm really excited to be in New York again, and the marathon is still pretty new to me, so I'm really scared but excited at the same time.
My preparation has gone really well, so hopefully I can show that on Sunday.
RICHARD FINN: Christelle, you're coming back after your third-place finish last year. Does that give you more confidence coming into New York after your great performance last year here?
CHRISTELLE DAUNAY: I'm very happy to be here in New York to defend my chance to win. I know I'm among the favorites. Three weeks ago I broke the national record which proves that I'm ready for an eventual victory, so I'm happy to be here.
RICHARD FINN: Questions for the athletes.

Q. Derartu, we've talked a lot about how Haile has had a very long career because he won a World Championship in 1993, but if I'm not mistaken, your first Olympic gold was in 1992. I'm just wondering if you could give a couple of insights as to how we know you've kept an elite career going for 18 years. Can you give us some idea as to how when other people flame out quickly that you've managed to be around for so long?
DERARTU TULU: First of all, thank you for having remembered me from all those years ago. I've always tried to run my very best, and it's true that I did win Olympic gold before Haile. Until I stopped running, I expect to be able to run at a high level, even if I have interrupted due to motherhood and injuries, until I stop running I hope to be running at a competitive level.
Part of the reason I've been able to do this is because it has been my goal, and I've been determined to achieve it. I've worked out with patience and encouraged myself along the way. I think that's why I've succeeded.
RICHARD FINN: Thank you. I'd like to bring up Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO of New York Road Runners, Mary.
MARY WITTENBERG: Thank you, I just want to add on behalf of all of us at New York Road Runners, a great welcome to our great international women, and obviously to all the guys from around the world. I am just fresh off returning from the airport with some of our team from picking up Edison Pena.
What I want to share is what a small world this world is today, and what a universal language we have in running. Edison came off a flight -- there were two flights from Chile this morning, and of course they had about a total of over 150 or so people from Chile running the marathon. So he came off the second flight, and all of the other runners had lined up to wait for him. He was very shy and he was taking a few moments to come out, he and his wife.
He came out, and they started cheering for him, and he was cheering with them. He was clearly a bit overwhelmed by it all. Then we had a big surprise for him. And in this very small world, running is one heck of a common thread. He saw Haile Gebrselassie, and he got the big -- he just went -- I hope the pictures capture it. He couldn't believe Haile was there to greet him, and he gave him a big hug. And he kept saying he couldn't believe Haile was there to greet him, and Hendrick Ramaala as well, and as you know, two of the friendliest guys we could ever have in the industry.
So it was really an amazing, amazing thing. Immediately, as soon as he was with us, he just kept talking about going like this, you know, about running and how happy he was to be here. You'll see him at 2:00 o'clock. This guy is a runner at heart in the truest sense of the word, and everything the word means to us.
So we look forward to sharing with him, and all of you getting a chance to see him and talk to him this afternoon. Very, very special thanks to Haile and Henrik. No surprise that they were willing to wait and willing to be a part of the welcoming committee.
And ladies, we're all just thrilled to have you. You're leading the way to what is going to be just a simply in so, so many ways an extraordinary event on Sunday. So thank you for being here, and we look forward to spending the rest of the week with you. Thank you.
RICHARD FINN: Thank you, Mary.

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