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November 8, 2010
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
RICHARD FINN: Welcome to our post race, Monday Mania news conference. We have our four champions, Tatyana McFadden, David, Geb and Edna, and we have our second place finisher and top American finisher, Shalane Flanagan.
We're going to have a number of notes and some facts and figures. We'll look to get that information out to you by email a little bit later. I'll turn it over to New York Road Runner president and CEO, Mary Wittenberg.
MARY WITTENBERG: Thank you, Richard. Welcome to marathon Monday Mania. Today's the day we walk around with the big lump in our throat, because every time we turn a corner someone else comes over and tells us a story that just puts sort of in perspective what it is we're all doing here, and there are some pretty compelling stories.
What a week and what a day. We tried a lot new this year and I think it's been the result of a lot of years and years of effort in sort of populating some new concepts and starting them. I think, too, that sometimes you get really lucky.
In the end, what we do at New York Road Runners is set the stage, and the stars of our show, from the leaders up here to Edison Pena to Al Roker to the 44,000-plus runners are the ones who really bring this event to life, and we don't control that story, they do. We had quite the week and day of stories.
So some numbers for you. Actually want to do something different. I'm going to do what I did at the charity breakfast and last night. At New York Road Runners we just set the stage. So we like to, believe it or not, we like to fade back from the stage and leave it to the athletes, but I'm blown away by our team.
So I really want to start with a huge congratulations to our team at New York Road Runners. A lot of them are out working right now in the sleet that we got really lucky to avoid yesterday. So I especially want to start with them, the event team that does an amazing job.
Their leader is not here, our technical director and senior vice president, Peter, he's out with them. But I want to thank Ann Crandall, our EVP, who works incredibly hard on everything, especially our business partners. I want to thank Susan Cutler. Susan over here. Give a wave, I don't know where Ann is, who heads our communications, Rachel who is on communications.
Obviously, Bob, with the wheelchair athletes and all of the general counsel roles that he plays. Absolutely, David and Sam, I don't think there's anyone better that does what they do in recruiting and taking care of professional athletes.
Daphne representing our magazine team. Who am I forgetting before I get to the PR team. Leah, Peter Krebs. The list goes on and on, and of course our chairman of the board, George. In the end it's all of you who get our story out. When you hear the number that's we're going to share today, it's a result of the stories that we set the stage, they perform, and you write, and that's how this all comes together.
So I really, I think it's one of the things that we're best at I really want to thank our PR team, starting with Edelman, and Karen and Rick and Matt and that whole team. Global Strategies, Rubenstein. And then the leadership of Richard and Drea, so just want to thank you guys. It's really been a phenomenal effort.
Lots to report. You know we like to be the biggest -- I mean, the best. Not the biggest. But we continue to be the biggest. We really didn't know how this would shake out, because it's a little bit of a model and a guessing game what will actually happen with numbers. But sure enough we ended up the biggest in the world again, ever.
We had also a very high finishing rate at 98.8 or 9%. We had, and we'll give all of this to you in print. But 45,350 starters, 44,829 finishers. I'm thrilled to say everybody is -- we had a really good day with a lot of really healthy people today, so that's great.
I want to call out because of our friends -- some of our friends from the media here will be proud. Italy had the highest number of non-U.S. finishers at 3430. France, Nicholas, you'll be happy was second with 3014.
111 countries represented, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. What I'm going to do is leave the extensive detail to print, which all of you can then take what you want from it. Rich and Drea will circulate it.
We had a fabulous weather day, as you know. 48Â° at the start, 45 at the finish. Wind at the start, but we'll give you that too. That feels like yesterday's news, but I'll give it to you anyway.
We'll talk about our champions in just a minute, and Shalane.
I want to call out. You can see this really, we talked a lot coming into the race, could first time marathoners still compete in New York? We had not seen first time winner since 1994, and Gebre Gebremariam really proved that, yes, in fact, you can run here in your first time and win. And then Shalane and Mary Keitany and our third place male in Kipkosgei also showed that you could land on the podium in your first run, which was really remarkable. So we had eight women debut, and we had three men, and we had some really impressive runs there.
This is very interesting, note to self to all the professional athletes and all the runners in the field because we get asked this all the time. Both winners ran negative splits, which is really, really, really hard to do on this course. This course is far harder in the second half than in the first half.
GEBRE GEBREMARIAM: Ran 1:05:20 in the first half, 1:02:54 in the second half. Edna ran 1:14:48 in the first half, and 1:12:32 in the second half. We get asked this all the time. No one ever believes us that is the way to run this course, but it certainly was the way yesterday.
To secure his victory - this is remarkable - Gebre ran the 5k between 25k and 30k in 14:04.
Really happy about the media coverage. I'm glad that Joe just reported at Universal Sports had unprecedented traffic. I think we're going to see that from several of our partners. Our website had over a million visitors.
Our TV ratings local -- we won't have national for another week -- local ratings were the best since 2002, up 54% versus last year. Household rating of 5.7. That is a total of about 580,000 households.
I think this is interesting. We follow social media. I'll just call out one number, 25,729 people have watched Edison Pena singing Elvis. The marathon iPhone app had close to 46,384 downloads. So we were happy with that starting point.
So all in all, you know, facts don't really bring it to life like the stories do. But we've got a lot of facts for you. We'll share them with you.
I do want to share you know we like to push the envelope a little bit. We thought a million dollars a mile for charity was aggressive, especially in this economy. The number at this point looks like $30,400,000 for charity, so that's pretty good.
I just came from a charity breakfast that I think we're going to have to somehow turn into a media event, too. Those of you doing the Justin Gimelstob stories really have to call on him this morning. He just told quite a story about his experience.
I will share something. We're at the finish line, we see a lot of people finish. Striking that Amani Toomer and Justin Gimelstob, the former athletes, there are several ways to run this race.
Once you really start to hurt, it's very natural to ease up some. Those two crossed the line like our pro athletes, nothing left. Justin actually ended up in the medical tent. He's fine. But Amani Toomer, totally spent. So I think once an athlete, always an athlete. They left it all out there.
But Justin tells this unbelievable story that I'll leave to him. But he just was overwhelmed by the spectacle and the experience and the community and everything he saw. Had an amazing 15 miles. Had the toughest experience of his life from 15 Miles to 23, overcoming pain and cramping and et cetera, et cetera.
But then at mile 23, he was running for a good friend who had passed away who was a big runner, and he never got the running thing. But he was running for his friend and to raise money for his charity. Really suffering thinking no way can I lose my bet to Andre Agassi and Federer and all those guys.
He gets to mile 23 and he's just been really struggling, and the wife of his deceased friend gives him his bib and his hat and he said he had the most amazing last three miles and had while still painful, he was just lifted to a whole new level of energy. You should hear it from him personally, but it kind of again speaks, and he finished thinking it's one of the greatest things he's ever done.
So those are the kind of stories we keep hearing over and over and over again. So while I don't know, this is not official. This is not official. This is definitely not official. But I'm kind of intrigued about if we could raise a million a kilometer next year. That would be a huge step forward.
So I don't know if it's next year or within two years, but we're just scratching the surface of impact here so look forward to that.
I will share, too, for the sports journalists in the room, one of the things we're definitely going to add to our charity program next year is we're going to add a program in the United States where high school -- where you take select high schools and colleges who need to raise money for their cross country and track and field teams and have them have the opportunity to invite some alumni to run for their cross country and track and field teams to try to help get greater support around those programs in their schools, again, with an effort to keep trying to build the sport all the way through the ranks.
So I think enough for me. We should get on to the stars of the show. But we really want to thank all of you and I want to congratulate our team. Really, we'll spend the day, again, we prepared for the runners and now we'll spend the day celebrating all the runners. So thank you.
RICHARD FINN: Thanks, Mary. As Mary said, this is a day and continues to be a day for our champions and our athletes. So it's been 24 hours since they've crossed the finish line here or about 24 hours. I'm going to ask each of the four champions and Shalane, please, for your reflections now that maybe it's sunk in a little bit. What do you think and what is in the future for you? We'll start here with our women's wheelchair champion, Tatyana.
TATYANA McFADDEN: Thank you. It's definitely an honor to be among elite athletes as themselves. And this race is actually really funny how I started out doing marathons. I was never a marathoner.
I just, my past history I got involved in racing only in sprinting events. I only did the 100, 200, 400, 800, short, quick on the track.
My coach came up to me when I was a freshman at University of Illinois and said everyone's going to run the Chicago Marathon. I looked at him and I was like, what? I don't know if I can physically do this. He was like, well, we calculated it, Tatyana, and it is 400, 100 meters. And I was like, okay.
So it all started in Chicago and it slowly moved over to New York. Then I did Chicago again, and I did New York again. But I think New York is by far one of my favorite marathons. I became addicted.
It was hard, and it was tough. But with such great staff and great support from the crowds, it really pulled me through. I really started hurting I think after the Queens bridge, after that huge climb. I started to feel it. But with such huge support, it was mazing.
When I was finished, I was surprised, overwhelmed, exhausted. But it was definitely worth it. And I had a blast doing this race, thank you for making it possible.
RICHARD FINN: Thank you, Tatyana. David?
DAVID WEIR: I actually woke up this morning thinking I was dreaming. It's just an amazing feeling to come here and win the New York Marathon. It's what I wanted to do for -- well, the last time I did it five years ago.
Five years ago when I did it, I left my mistakes from other races and what I needed to do and needed to change, and from that race I got better and better each year. So thank you to New York for inviting me five years ago. I've just stepped up my game since then.
But for the race yesterday it's probably the toughest marathon I've done ever. Especially the competitors with Kurt, Soejima, Krige, it was a battle out there. But that's what I like. I train to have battles. It's just a fantastic, fantastic race.
When Soejima made the break about 17th mile, he made a gap of about 20 meters and Kurt and Krige were still pushing at the same sort of pace.
I'm sitting there thinking are we going to go yet, are we going to go yet? And we weren't going to go. And I thought I'm going to go because Soejima doesn't slow down. Once he's out in front, he'll just keep up the pace.
So I had to Sprint for a good five minutes, I think, to try to catch him. When I caught him, I felt comfortable sitting behind him, and I felt sure I made the right move at the right time.
Coming into the park, I thought I made the wrong move too early. My arms were like lead. My stroke was getting shorter and shorter, so I thought I was a bit lucky at the end. But I knew halfway through that if I could stay until the end, that I could outsprint him with my sprinting background because I used to be a sprinter.
So, yeah, it was just a fantastic day, and I just want to say thank you to everyone for inviting me out. I'll be back next year to defend my title.
RICHARD FINN: We always like to have our defending champions back. Just a point again looking at it, the margin of victory yesterday was under 2 seconds. That might be the closest finish in the wheelchair men's division. We'll take a look, but that's pretty close.
Geb? Our men's champion. Got the gold around your neck, your thoughts now reflecting back?
GEBRE GEBREMARIAM: Thank you, first of all, I want to say thank you to all of you. You know, this is a fantastic time for me, especially here in New York here in New York is business. Here in New York is just chills. Here in New York it's very lovely, so I like it.
This is my dream to run here, not to win for this year. No I asked my manager just to insert me here, he did it, and I won it. I'm very happy. I want to say thank you to all of you.
You know, if he gave me just two days here, I have to celebrate again and again here. So I want.
You know, in the morning when I go into the park, I run again in the finishing area (laughing). I'm so happy. I'm really happy. I think next year maybe I did a little history with my wife. I try my best to break the record too.
So I start here winning with the best marathon, and I have to win. I think to win any other marathon, you know, this is special. So I'm so happy.
RICHARD FINN: I think a lot of us are very happy to have seen you in your win yesterday, Geb.
Edna, your thoughts?
EDNA KIPLAGAT: Thank you. I feel great being in New York. Yesterday I was very tired, but today I'm having extra energy. So I believe I spend this day to walk around the city. I know there is a lot of different places to visit.
What I learn about New York is there is a stock market and Letterman Show, and I like it very much. So I believe if I get the chance to go and watch something there, I would really appreciate it.
New York is not only a big city, but it's a place where you can meet famous people. During the race you can meet great athletes. The field is so strong. The place here, the community, you really enjoy it. They are very nice people. They are very welcoming. I like it, thank you.
RICHARD FINN: Edna, if you don't know, you are going to the closing of the Stock Exchange today, along with our other four champions. That is one of the great traditions that we have in New York, so you'll see the Stock Exchange.
Shalane, a great effort yesterday. We saw you today again in the park running. You looked fast again, so you must be feeling pretty good.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Well, I haven't slept yet. So I'm honored to be here with all the champions. Even though I didn't win, I feel like a champion. I conquered a big goal and dream of mine. I've been replaying the race over in my head all night long, hence why I have not slept.
Like Geb, I ran through the finish line again today and just relived the whole thing. It was a great day, and I had the best time, so, yeah.
RICHARD FINN: Just a reminder, Shalane, you are the champion of the U.S. Women's Marathon title.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, yeah, I'm the champion of something.
RICHARD FINN: We're going to open it up for a few questions for any of our four champions and Shalane.
Q. You spoke a lot in the press conference about patience and how important an element that was. And it was a slightly slower first half pace than expected. Was it tough to be patient? Did you question at all whether or not somebody like you should maybe push that pace at 13, 15 miles?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: My coach would have had a heart attack if I had taken over. No, the game plan was always to just execute our race plan, which was to be patient for as long as possible. Because I knew the event, my coach and I just felt like my best case scenario for doing well in terms of podium spots, that was our goal. There was no time.
So with the slow pace, I could tell it felt slow, but I didn't really even take splits until I looked up at the halfway mark, I didn't know what pace we were running. So, yeah, the time was irrelevant. It was all about beating the women on the specific day.
Q. For Geb, for a while there you were running very tough alongside Mutai. What really determined in your mind at what point you should actually try to start pulling away from him?
GEBRE GEBREMARIAM: I can push from 35k or from 37k. But I didn't know the pace in marathon. Even I didn't see the course too. Even I hear it's heavy, but I didn't see before. So I have to wait him. He has some experience, more than me, so I have to wait him.
When I see the back maybe if he come, just I have to save some powers from him. That's why I stay behind and I follow him.
Q. At the press conference yesterday you indicated that the marathon might be your event come 2012. Do you still feel that way having run the race in your mind a couple of times? And if that is indeed going to be the scenario, how do you see the next year playing out? You training and competition-wise?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, I like the idea that my next two marathons will be championship style like it was yesterday so I'm looking forward to running our Olympic trials. And if I make the team, I would love to run in London.
But everything can change. I have a lot of faith in my coach, and I think he and I will make the right decision whether to go on the track or for the marathon.
But after my experience yesterday, I'm absolutely hooked on the marathon.
Q. So do you see your next marathon being the trials?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yes, I look at saving all my energy towards the trials. Then hopefully London.
Q. So 2011 will be a track year for you?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yes, this spring, all track, yes.
Q. Edna, I know having read about your L.A. Marathon performance that you looked to be strong in the latter stages of that race. Based on that experience, were you pretty confident that if you were running at 23, or 24 miles alongside a couple of people that you would be able to have that same closing strength to win this race?
EDNA KIPLAGAT: Yeah, because my fast marathon which I run back 2005 it was like a trial and error. But my coach, my husband, decided that it's not a good time for me to run marathon. So we have to plan to stay and to add extra distance.
So when I went to Los Angeles we had a good workout. So it was like I'm going to do it, to try even if we have done something good.
So after I was so patient up to 24 miles, that's when I started to push more harder. So it went really good. So I had to use the same strategy and the same plan yesterday so that I could really do well.
I was happy because after taking all that and being patient for all that time, for the last kilometers, my body responded well. So it was good. I felt great.
Q. David, you mentioned how close the finish was in your race. But it seems to me maybe even watching Boston that wheelchair finishers are often incredibly close, like half the length of a wheelchair or something. Is there a reason for that as opposed to what happens in their kind of race? Is it because there is more drafting or because there are only certain parts of the race where you're maybe like the flats are going to go faster? Why are they often so close?
DAVID WEIR: Well, I think last year was close as well with Kurt and Krige, but I think these are the only two years it's been really close. I just think the racers are more -- it's more tactical as well, so people don't really want to go in the hills, uphills. Like Kurt usually goes from the beginning. He made a little gap on us but it wasn't too much that we couldn't catch up downhill.
So everyone has their strengths and weaknesses like the runners do. But I just think I was just riding my time because I knew I was a little bit better at climbing than Soejima, because I knew he was coasting really well down the hills. So I was just sitting behind him down the hills. I was just waiting my time really.
With a sprinting background, I used to hold the world record for the 400, so I knew if I could keep my arms pretty good, I should be all right at the finish. But my arms were like lead, so I was pretty lucky really.
RICHARD FINN: Just looking back in the record books, Peter, you were correct. Last year's race, which was won by Kurt over Krige Schabort was a photo finish. The times are 1:35:58. And the ladies race was 7 seconds differential.
DAVID WEIR: I just think it just shows you the class of wheelchair racers that New York brought over. And it's a tough race as well. It was windy and tough like that. So people are more cautious yesterday.
Plus, there is a big prize money as well, so a lot of the racers are cautious about that. They don't want to go too early, too late. So it's a bit tactical in there.
No one talks to each other, no one. It's just you're watching all the time where people are going, stopping or whatever.
Q. Have you heard from Cara or Deena or any of the other names in marathoning? What did they say?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, I was fortunate enough to see Deena right after the race because he was commentating, and I got a nice big hug.
She's been extremely supportive through this whole marathon lead up with me. I was able to spend a lot of time with her in Mammoth when we were there for six weeks. Even leading up to the race, I emailed her a few times with questions on what to eat the morning of and how do I get my carbs in.
She's just been a great mentor for me, and I also received a really nice just quick text from Cara saying congrats. So, yeah, great community, great sport from my competitors and friends.
Q. Having run the race through your mind now, can you identify some things that you think you need to improve before you get into your next championship style marathon?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, so, Edna put a really nice move on me on a downhill, so I told Jerry as soon as I finished I have to work on the downhills. Because I felt strong on the uphills, but the downhills wasn't quite as comfortable really unleashing.
My legs, my turnover just wasn't there. So I don't know if that's something we'll incorporate. But I definitely had a harder time for some reason on the downhills and found I was making up ground on the uphills. So maybe something to consider.
I'm sure Jerry has a list of things that he's already compiling to tweak. And my teammates had a little bit of a rough day yesterday, so I think we're going to learn a lot. I know that on any given day I could have a day like they did. So just because I hit this one well, I know that there's always a day like they had.
So we're going to just learn a lot for better or worse through this whole experience.
Q. Gebre, did you have a chance after the race to talk to Haile, and did you get the sense that he meant what he said that he really is going to retire? And if he is, are you ready to take over from him as Ethiopia's top male marathon runner?
GEBRE GEBREMARIAM: Yeah, I got here, you know. After the race I got him in the press conference, and I talked to him about his leg. But he didn't tell me about retiring, so I hear from somebody.
I think I just have two days to wait here, and I'll meet him in Addis in my country to talk to him. I think I have to hear from his side. I hear only from somebody.
But I know when I hear from Haile, just like yesterday I know, I can't, but I will try to take the -- Haile is special Olympic and world champion even on the road, so I don't think so. You know, Haile's no different. But I will try to talk to him.
Q. And do you think that if he does retire now, can you be as successful in the marathon as he has been? Maybe even more successful?
GEBRE GEBREMARIAM: Yeah, you know, it's different now. Haile's different, and Gebre's different, but I will try my best to win and to break a world record, maybe. This is my first marathon. Maybe in my second and third, I will see. I will try to.
RICHARD FINN: Are you feeling good today? You looked so easy yesterday running. Are you feeling well?
GEBRE GEBREMARIAM: Yeah, I'm feeling really well. I'm okay.
Q. Edna, I know how hard it is to make national teams in Kenya because of how many great runners you have. What do you think you'll have to do? Are you interested in running or would you rather wait till London in 2012? Do you think winning in Los Angeles and New York is enough to get you named to those teams? Will it be a single trial or how will it go?
EDNA KIPLAGAT: In Kenya there is a lot of athletes who are strong, so every time we have a championship, I try my best. But sometimes I make, sometimes I don't make it.
But in roads it's different from track. But I'll keep on continuing with what we have been doing with my husband. He's the one who is planning and keeping me he guidelines. But I know at Worlds or at the championship he is ahead of me which is concerning my country.
I know there is a program, so I will see if they are going to give me -- maybe they are going to select me for a race to represent Kenya. If not, I know with the race which is not concerning Kenya, my manager will decide, so, yeah.
MARY WITTENBERG: It strikes me we have an interesting situation here with two couples that have extraordinary runners. Gilbert's telling me about his next marathon. And Gebre told us last night his goal was for Werknesh and Gebre to come back and win here next year. So we'll have to keep a whole family challenge going.
RICHARD FINN: We can do it on Valentine's Day or something, right (laughing).
Q. Shalane, you talked about your passion now for the marathon. In talking to Dathan before this race he said sometimes he feels like an emotional tug of war between wanting to do a really good time on the track and a really good time on the roads. Do you anticipate having that same sort of emotional tug of war between the two?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Absolutely. I wish I could do every event. I'm inspired by many distances. When I watch our women who run the 1500, run sub-4:00, I want to run sub-4:00. I'm obviously inspired by the marathon.
But, yeah, for example this summer it was hard to watch my record, my 5K record go down. I was training hard at the moment, so that was encouraging, but there wasn't anything I could do about it because I was in marathon mode.
So I like the idea of mixing up my racing by getting on the track and running marathons, because I am passionate about all distances. But I can tell that the marathon is special for sure.
Q. Do you know whether or not you're going to run another marathon before the trials?
RICHARD FINN: I believe Shalane your next two marathons you hope will be the trials and then possibly London 2012, correct?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Given that I make the team, yes.
RICHARD FINN: As we still celebrate what took place here about 24 hours ago or less, we're already looking ahead to 2011. To tell you a little bit about what's going on, I'll bring back Mary Wittenberg for closing remarks.
MARY WITTENBERG: Thank you so much, Richard. As we close out. It was a week and a day where sort of everything just came together. We're planning ahead. So we can't wait until 2011, and excited for 2012, and really excited for 2013 when our American marathoners will be back in full force.
Some of what we are thinking about, I mentioned the charities with really trying to support more charities with raising more dollars and more awareness. Trying to support our track and field and cross country here in the United States.
Definitely we will figure out an element of a USA event of some sort so that we can have our athletes who will be training for the trials with us in some form over the weekend.
I'm going to hold a lot of the what else is ahead in my pocket. We've got some good ideas for Gebre and Edna, and Tatyana and David as to some exciting matchups. But we don't want to tip our hand on those yet. So we're looking ahead to bigger and better, we'll definitely build on the race week live concept.
We'll build on the evening daily cool concept. And the whole idea of more and more promotion, more and more Storytelling as we head through the day.
But today we like to call our Marathon Monday Mania, because now everybody's so excited to run the marathon next year so they can begin applying at noon today.
But please stress, we can handle 8,000 applications filling out in a minute, and that might be overloaded. So the idea is they don't have to apply at noon, but they can begin to apply at noon.
We are going to pick 50-some spots tomorrow, and from now over the next few months we'll probably pick some entries on the 26th of each month, so we'll be rolling all of that out.
But we're going to keep this energy around 2011 going. So you can look at our website at NYRR.org for all the details, including how somebody can declare themselves as a marathon maniac and up their chances of getting in tomorrow morning.
So, again, we thank you all. You guys put on an amazing show, you athletes and all of the 44,800 plus behind you, and we thank you so much our friends in the media for your amazing coverage. Thank you.
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