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November 7, 2010

Tatyana McFadden

David Weir


RICHARD FINN: We'd like to welcome our ING New York City Marathon 2010 wheelchair champions this year. From Great Britain, David Weir, official time 1:37:29, 1:37:29: Our women's champion, Tatyana McFadden from the United States, and proudly wearing her Illinois University sweatshirt. Official time of 2:02:22, 2:02:22. We have all the official results. I'd like to ask each of you to make an opening comment on how the race went and your thoughts.
TATYANA McFADDEN: First, I'd like to say that it's definitely an honor to be here and to win the ING Marathon. This year is the biggest marathon. It was the biggest amount of people that came to run this race, and also it's huge about the charity they raised. 27 million, a million dollars per mile. I thought that was fabulous when I heard about that just to help out.
And you know, the race, this is only -- I'm a sprinter, and I went to Beijing and Athens only for sprinting events. The 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters only. I remember the first time my coach said, "you're going to do a marathon." I was like, "what? I can't physically do a marathon."
We calculated and it was like 400-something hundred miles that we needed to do. He's like, "it's not that bad." So that's how I kind of got started.
It kind of wheeled me in, and I kind of have secretly fallen in love with it. I haven't told my coach that yet.
But the race went really, really well today. It was a hard course. But with the support, with the crowd was definitely amazing. I pulled away from the start in mile 1. Because I have a little bit of fear of going downhills, I just kept it strong and kept it focused. It really helped from the support of the city here. That's definitely huge. They really kept me going when I wanted to give up halfway after going over that Queensboro Bridge. That was tough.
So I think definitely the support definitely kept me going.
RICHARD FINN: Thank you, Tatyana. We'll open it up for questions. Just to point out her winning time, she won by 5 minutes and 43 seconds. I think that's a pretty remarkable time. I guess we could call that a runaway victory, at least a huge cushion there at the end.
David Weir from Great Britain. Again, his winning time 1:37:29. His was a little bit tighter. Looks like here it was one second. So if you could talk about that and maybe that finish.
DAVID WEIR: Well, it's probably the toughest marathon that I've raced in. It was windy, cold. It's the best field that I've ever seen outside of the World Championships or Olympics and Paralympics. So it's just an honor, really, to win this race.
I've waited five years to come back, and just had a few problems, obviously, in 2007. I was a bit run down in New York. I haven't felt strong like this since before Mionis.
So I knew after Great North run that the training had been going really well, and I've been averaging 120 miles a week since then without any problems. No illnesses, nothing. Coming into this race was probably the best preparation I've had in any race that I've done, even before Beijing, because obviously I was a little ill the year before.
So coming into this race was probably the best preparation I've ever been in. It's just a great race to win. The organization, the people, just a great, great win. Yeah, I'm just overwhelmed, really just to win this race. It's up there with all of them out of my Gold Medals and stuff like that. It's up there with them as well. I'm truly honored and I can't wait for next year.
RICHARD FINN: We'll take a little break and then we'll come back next year (laughing). Just a couple of points of order, on our official wheelchair finishing time, somehow we have Tatyana's age a lot older than you are, so we apologize. Tatyana is 21 years old, correct, Tatyana?
TATYANA McFADDEN: Yes, I am 21, yes.
RICHARD FINN: We apologize there. And David's victory today included beating Kirk Fearnley. Kirk was four-time champion here the last four years in a row, 2006, 2007, and 2009. He came in first place and won four. We'll open it up for a few questions to either of our two champions.

Q. You had a new chair, a new racing chair for this event. Did that make a difference?
DAVID WEIR: Yeah, a massive difference. I struggled all year with -- I had a new chair back in January. It just didn't feel right all season, but I just wanted to grin and bear it, really. So I waited until the last minute because I knew the World Championships were coming up, and the New York Marathon. So I had a new chair built in August.
Yeah, I asked them -- well, told them what I'd like, and can you do this and this, and they've done it. It's been a superb chair.
Yeah, it feels part of me. It doesn't feel like a machine; it feels like a pair of running shoes, really. You get used to it, and I got used to it within a few days of sitting in it. So the new chair is a great help for this race.
RICHARD FINN: For point of clarification, as untechnical as possible, is it lighter, does it mold to your body better?
DAVID WEIR: Yeah, it's more stiffer than my other chair, even though it's lighter. Draft Wheelchairs in Cambridge have just come up with new ideas in the last 12 months. I'm more aerodynamic in it, so I'm laying flatter, so better downhill. And I can climb in it because it's lighter than my chair I was using in the summer.
So, yeah, all around it's a good chair for the track and road. That's why I like to use the two different chairs.

Q. Can I ask how much that chair costs to build?
DAVID WEIR: Roughly about 4,000 pounds. It's custom-built to whatever I like, really. Carbon fiber seat, yeah, carbon fiber wheels and aluminum. So, it's an expensive kit, but Draft Wheelchairs have been looking after me for the last ten years, so they're going to build the best for me.
RICHARD FINN: You were here last year in sixth place. What was the difference? Are you a better athlete now? Did you know the course having competed here last year? Could you just say what the difference was?
TATYANA McFADDEN: There was definitely a mixture of things. Last year the roads were really wet, so they were kind of slippery. Also I had a lot of technical difficulties with my wheelchair. I couldn't get -- there were fenders right here, so I couldn't get on thicker tires. So I was running on thinner tires and the roads are a little bit rough here and there. So I flatted twice. There was nothing I could do.
So this year I definitely made sure that would not happen. Because it was frustrating because you train and the training is so difficult. Some Saturdays we run 26 miles, and then on the weekend -- on the weekdays we climb hills and go downhills. The training was going so well, and then you're getting ready for the race and all of a sudden you flatten.
It's a little bit frustrating. So there was definitely a mix of things with the weather and the equipment. And Adam at the University of Illinois, coach is excellent. He definitely helped me prepare for this race. It was tough because I just did Chicago a couple of weeks ago, so mentally I had to get ready because it's a different course. It's very difficult. Chicago's flat. So mentally I had to get ready.

Q. What is the life span of the chairs?
DAVID WEIR: I get one every season, so I'm pretty lucky.
TATYANA McFADDEN: Every two years.
DAVID WEIR: Yeah, if you're feeling comfortable and it's not damaged on flights, because we do a lot of traveling, so sometimes you get them damaged on flights. But you get them serviced every couple of months to make sure they're okay. But if the wheels are not cracking and stuff, they can be two or three years max.
TATYANA McFADDEN: My chair I've had for about four, so it's getting up there. Grandma age, really. Because everyone changes their chair within a year or two years depending.
Doing marathons is very hard on your chair. It flexes a lot because you hit roads all the time, whereas when I do track my chair is designed a little bit differently. It's mostly designed for a track than it is for the road.
So, soon, I hope, I can get a new chair.
RICHARD FINN: Tatyana, it says you play wheelchair basketball and track and now are you continuing to do that, especially the basketball, or will you be a full-time wheelchair track and long distance athlete now?
TATYANA McFADDEN: For the University of Illinois I am a junior, so I play -- last year I did basketball and track. It was very difficult. It's literally exhausting. You wake up at 6:00 a.m. and go to practice. I was probably working out probably more than four hours a day. So it just became too difficult.
With worlds, I made it to New Zealand. I qualified in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 15, and the 4-by-4 relay. So I really wanted to focus on doing Chicago and New York, because that was important to me. I explained that to the basketball team, so I'm having a little bit of time off from basketball right now.
They're two completely different sports. One is physical and one is really not. But my heart's in track. I just love running. It's just a different feeling. You're just zoned, and you're just focused. You don't really have anything -- I don't know. It's you're kind of free. It's a good feeling. I'm very competitive, and a lot of my teammates know that, and so, yeah, I love it.
RICHARD FINN: Being competitive in New York usually works. We congratulate and thank our two champions and hope you'll both come back and defend your titles next year.

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