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November 5, 2010

Andy Baldwin

Ann Glover

George Hirsch

Dick Patrick

Mary Wittenberg


RICHARD FINN: Ladies and gentlemen, and to our viewing audience on New York Road Runners Race Week Live, welcome to ING New York City Marathon Race Week, and the final pre-race news conference here at the finish line. We have another very busy day. We apologize for getting off to a little bit of a slow start. Weather again is causing a little trouble with the roads, which will be free on Sunday for the 43,000 or more runners that we expect. We have a lot of the top runners and wheelchair athletes here today. We have another busy day. It's hard to imagine that we could have a busier day than we had yesterday. We thank everybody. We thought that was probably one of the most inspiring moments that we've seen in our New York City Marathon history, maybe in all sports history when we had Edison Pena here yesterday.
He was on "the Today show" this morning with Al Roker who will be running in the race. He was on the Letterman Show last night. It really has been something very special.
Today we'll have our wheelchair athletes. Another strong lineup of our international athletes and around 12:00 we have Haile Gebrselassie and a special guest joining us. I'd now like to turn it over to Road Runner President and CEO, Mary Wittenberg. Mary?
MARY WITTENBERG: Thank you so much, Richard. On behalf of all of us at New York Road Runners, welcome to our last official press conference before we head to the big weekend. I want to extend a special welcome to so many of our international friends and race directors, Tracy Russell from Atlanta, and I'm expecting our friends from Boston, London, Berlin and Chicago soon. Welcome to everybody joining us.
I also want to welcome -- he's been here several days this week, but we haven't officially welcomed -- our long time president and CEO and race director, and my mentor, Allen Steinfeld is with us. He'll be chief referee in the USA women's race. We want to welcome Mike McNees and Joe Weir from USA Track and Field. Really glad to be hosting the USA championships and we welcome you as well.
We like to make the marathon look easy to all of you. But the reality is these are pretty major events. What takes even more effort is not so much getting ready for any given year in the event on race day, but to constantly try to expand the reach of the marathon, increase the relevancy of the marathon to a much greater audience, all with the purpose of really driving greater, and greater, and greater impact in every way, from inspiring millions of people to run to driving huge economic impact, to upping the charitable impact, to really putting together a world class race that will really inspire a lot of people to tune in and watch our races around the world. It takes a lot. It takes really great partnerships.
We have been really fortunate over these last eight years to have a simply phenomenal partner as our title sponsor. So today we welcome our partner, we welcome our friends from ING, and I'd like to introduce all of you to one of their leaders who is really excited about this event and been a great force and positive force at ING, chief marketing officer, Ann Glover.
ANN GLOVER: Good morning, everybody. On behalf of ING, I'd like to welcome you all. I'd also like to welcome our special guest from ING, Dr. Andy Baldwin. And he'll be up here in a few minutes once you listen to my comments.
I'd also like to acknowledge Mary for all of the wonderful work that the Road Runners does in putting on this event. We've been a sponsor since 2003, and every year, as Mary mentioned, we look to raise the bar. We're excited all year long, quite frankly, as we plan for the event and think about ways that we can raise the bar.
We love this race for many, many reasons, and I'll mention three of them. First of all, both ING and the Road Runners are committed to putting on a wonderful event, not just for the runners but for the whole city of New York. The spectators love to come out for the New York Marathon, and we love the way that they see an orange race course.
So of course the second reason we love the race is because ING gets to be orange in the big financial market of the world, and that's great for us.
And thirdly, and most importantly, we both share a commitment to the future runners of tomorrow and to healthy fitness for young children. And we're committed to supporting kids in the local communities in which we operate.
As proof of that, ING and the New York Road Runners have been bringing this to life through a program that we call ING Run For Something Better in the Orange Laces Program. So you'll see many people and all the ING guests sporting orange laces as they run the race.
Since this initiative began in 2003, about 75,000 kids have participated. They've run over 3 million miles, and we've raised from public donations over a million dollars to support kids running programs.
In New York, two of the programs that we support are the New York Road Runners Foundation, Mighty Milers School Running Program, and the City Parks Foundation, Summer Track and Field Program. And all of you I know are going to want to run to your computers after this event and get your own pair of orange laces and show that you're tied to kids running, and you can do that at orangelaces.com.
So today what I'd like to talk about is that we recently have surpassed that 1 million dollars mark. For a global company though like ING, the community goes way beyond the U.S. The marathon is known as the world's race. It generates international attention, and it tracks runners from all over the world.
As we know, one of the runners this year is the rescued Chilean miner, Edison Pena, and maybe he'll be sporting orange laces on Sunday morning. The New York Road Runners invited him to come up and run, and he did. So we are very excited through our operations in Chile, and also through our own Chilean ING runners to make a donation to the miner's charity in his honor.
But now back to Orange Laces, it's my pleasure here to introduce Dr. Andy Baldwin who is also wearing his orange laces. He already has his orange laces on.
Many of you know Dr. Baldwin from his days on The Bachelor. But beyond his television experience, Dr. Baldwin is a dedicated humanitarian with a passion for health and for community service. He's an outstanding ambassador for ING's Run For Something Better Program. But in his free time, he's also helped to promote the U.S. Surgeon General's program, Healthy Youth For a Healthy Future. He's also working with Michelle Obama on the Let's Move campaign.
Finally, he started his own charitable foundation as a former military person, to help children of fallen soldiers, and Dr. Baldwin, thank you for being with us and we'll let you talk a little bit on our behalf.
DR. ANDY BALDWIN: Thank you, Ann, and as you see I love the color orange, and I love, love, love New York City. It's an honor to be the ambassador this year for ING's Run For Something Better campaign. As you see the symbol of that is the orange laces, and I have the orange laces around my head, and I had them around my head when I was out there running the five-miler this morning. It was a great, great race. The rain is clearing up.
This will be my third year in a row running the ING New York City Marathon, and I look forward to it each and every year.
But what I really love even more is when I see the smiles on children's faces when they're running around and they're all in orange as well. That's why my passion as a physician and someone who has worked with the Surgeon General of the United States and am an ambassador right now for the Let's Move campaign that Michelle Obama puts on. And a big proponent in my family medicine practice for healthy lifestyles and prevention. When I see the commitment of ING and the Run For Something Better campaign and what we did yesterday with the run for champions with the Mighty Miler program up in Harlem, when I see these children running and smiling and over the past five years they've run accumulative of 250,000 miles, that is ten times around the world. Ten times around the world. That, my friends, makes me smile.
So just to share some personal stories from why this is such an epidemic and why you need to be concerned. The numbers came out yesterday in a study that we're going to be looking at upwards of 40% obesity in coming years. And that is just intolerable. So much of it starts with us walking the walk, getting out there and being good role models for our children.
When I see a middle-schooler come into my office or into my clinic and they already have diabetes or they have cancer, or I put my stethoscope up to their carotid arteries and I hear the plaque that's already building up there, we have a responsibility. We need to be better. We need to get out there and fight childhood obesity. So that's what I'm doing here running on Sunday. I'm trying to raise awareness through ING's Run For Something Better campaign by wearing my orange laces. I encourage you all to get your own orange laces.
Hopefully -- I can speak Spanish -- so I'm going to go find Edison and see if I can get him to wear some laces.
It's really an honor to be here.
RICHARD FINN: You've run here before, what are your thoughts on Sunday? Will you be running faster, quicker?
DR. ANDY BALDWIN: I'm a big proponent of sport being a lifestyle. And it's not always the fastest that matters. It's about enjoying the spirit of the community. And what I love so much about the ING New York City Marathon, my favorite part of the race is coming off the 59th Street Bridge out to First Avenue, and just the roar of the crowd. It just gets you through that third quarter of the race and you're almost home.
I don't want to make any predictions. I told my ING, I told Ann and Susanne, "How fast do you want me to run it, and I'll run it that fast." But I ran a 320 here the past two years. Last year I actually ran in dress shoes here with orange laces in them and ran a 3:20, so hopefully I can go faster than that.
RICHARD FINN: Along with the orange laces, I'll give you my orange tie for Sunday, huh? You ran this morning out here with the New York Road Runner 5, a nice little tune-up?
DR. ANDY BALDWIN: It was a great warm-up. Just being out there amongst runners. A lot of them didn't get into the ING New York City Marathon, and they got to experience going down that finishing final stretch there. You could just see smiles all around. Such an international race too. Lots of folks. I saw a big contingent from Italy and from Chile.
RICHARD FINN: For those people down there not aware, we did host a new race this morning starting at 8:00 o'clock this morning right here in the park. The NYR Five Mile. It's part of our attempt, part of our I'm In, We're In campaign to broaden the reach and experience of the marathon throughout the weekend, and we hope it's going to become one of the traditions of the marathon weekend.
We thank you for joining us. Any questions whatsoever? Certainly the doctor will be available afterwards when we break everything down after all the athletes. Any questions? Thank you very much. We wish you the best of luck. We really applaud ING for what they've done for us for so many years and your own personal efforts to help get people on a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
DR. ANDY BALDWIN: Thank you.
RICHARD FINN: We have one more very special guest and award that I'd like to bring Mary up to introduce and to announce.
MARY WITTENBERG: Thank you, Andy. Thank you, Richard. First I'd like to introduce the gentleman for whom the award is named. We're really pleased this year to launch and introduce our first George Hirsch Journalism Award that we will be giving annually from this point.
Introducing our chairman of the board, what I'd like to say, come on up, George, is that we're naming this award in the honor of really a pillar in our sport. If you think about George who is here in the earliest days with Fred when he was leading the runners, and continued to lead the sport in so many ways for so many years, and now we're really fortunate to have George as our chairman of the board and he provides unbelievable guidance and calm and focus and direction day-in and day-out. But we're honoring George with this award because he's really been an enduring leader in running journalism.
From his late early days in the late '70s, heading up the runner, to many, many years obviously overseeing and creating what is the great success of the brand we know today as the dominant brand, I really think in running, Runner's World, and doing some broadcast journalism along the way.
So, George, it was really an easy decision -- we didn't tell George about any of this until we announced the award -- but it was a really easy decision for us for whom to name the award after. So thank you.
GEORGE HIRSCH: Thank you, Mary. Thank you so much. This is an extraordinary weekend. I think for me, and I've seen a lot of these marathon weeks unfold and press conferences, I don't think I've ever seen the energy that we've had in this town in the last couple of days.
Edison Pena, Haile being here, all of the incredible work that Mary and our extraordinary team does, let me tell you. To be chairman of the board of the New York Road Runners when you've got a dynamo like this running it, all you have to do is just be the cheerleader and kind of open a pathway and they take over. They're extraordinary.
What a pleasure for me to be able to give this award to a gentleman that I've known for a long time, and one that I think is absolutely a fitting person for this inaugural award.
I think we all know that in our sport there are an awful lot of sports editors out there who think of this as a minor sport, and we have to keep convincing them, of course, days like today I think it's a lot easier to convince them, that we deserve the time and attention and space in their newspapers.
I think it takes a person like Dick Patrick, who is a great reporter. He knows how to write. And then he brings to it extraordinary integrity and passion for the sport. And I think that's why Dick has done so much to lift the sport of running, all aspects of running and distance running. Because with him it came from the heart, and of course he was with the largest circulation newspaper in the United States, that never hurts, USA Today, all those years.
So, Dick, what a pleasure for me to be the person to give you the inaugural award.
MARY WITTENBERG: Thank you so much, George. Dick, come on up.
I want add Dick was all about lifting the sport at New York Road Runners, and you have done that and you do that all the time. From the earliest days I remember first meeting you and I was like this guy knows everything about track and field and running. So it's been a pleasure for all of us not only to read all of your work but to get to spend a lot of time with you and talk about something that we all love so much and have such great aspirations for.
Larry, I think I read somewhere you said this, and I think it was really well said, you're probably the most well-read journalist in running and track and field. From USA today, to now working so hard on Meb's book, which, everybody or a lot of you have read it or will read it, it's phenomenal.
You're an incredible journalist. But also at New York Road Runners, George has talked about your integrity, it's your integrity that in the end we like a lot. This is a really authentic sport, and we're lucky to have some really good people in it. You're like the top of the list of good people in the sport, Dick. So we're happy to celebrate you.
It's so good to see Shea here. Shea, want to give everybody a wave. We all who know Dick gets to hear a lot about his wonderful children Shea, and his son Eamonn who is now at Cornell. I think it says a lot about you, too, I feel like we know a lot about you, Shea, and we're excited about your basketball season this year.
But especially when I read the introduction to Meb's book, and Dick said he was saying his thank yous. He said, I really want to thank a man Eamonn because I missed his high school graduation. And I said, Dick had to miss Eamonn's high school graduation, I know in the end you do whatever it takes to get done what you have to get done. I'm sure you've made up to Eamonn many times over, and Meb has a phenomenal book and you have a phenomenal book, and now you somehow pull it all together. So we're really, really honored to get to celebrate you.
DICK PATRICK: Well, thank you very much. When I was coming up here last night on the train with my daughter I mentioned to her that she'd be meeting George Hirsch and she said, you mean he's alive? And I said, well, yes. She said, well, usually people don't get awards named after them until they die. So I'm glad you're alive, George.
I can't think of anyone better to name a media award after. I've had a great association with George through the years and was a fan of his even before I read The Runner, because I think you had a magazine, New Times, that did a lot of cutting edge journalism at about the time that I was breaking into the business.
So it's a great honor to win an award named after George. I'm humbled because when I was first told the news, I could think of right off the back at least a half dozen people that would be more deserving. The more time I thought about it, the more people I realized are deserving of this award, many of whom are in this room.
I just hope we haven't established some sort of precedent here. I hope the succeeding winners of this award are employed in the media. I'm happy not only to be the first winner of the award, but I hope I'm the only unemployed journalist to win the award.
This is beautiful. My daughter noticed the box on the floor and she goes, "That's from Tiffany's." So it's a beautiful award. Unfortunately I think it's going to require us to do some home improvement in order to have a house that's deserving of displaying such a nice award.
MARY WITTENBERG: I want you to know seriously Dick sent us an email. There is a follow-up, what about this person, and that person and all of those people that he wanted to us give the award to first. But sorry, Dick, it's all you. It's our honor. I would also add in the end we're a pretty close-knit family in running, and I will never forget one of our toughest days we all shared with Ryan Shay, the passing in 2007. And I was able to look at Dick and read the pain in his eyes and feel the empathy in a moment we all needed real strength. So I will never, ever forget the strength that you emanated from your eyes on that day as well, so thank you.

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