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March 17, 2013

Abdi Abdirahman

Bernard Lagat


THE MODERATOR:  Please to welcome two of our top U.S. stars here, Bernard Lagat right here to my left, 12th place finish today, and Bernard's first half marathon, 1:02:33.
And next to Bernard, his close friend, his training partner, fellow U.S. Olympian, and always a friend of ours here in New York, Abdi Abdirahman, finished 15th, 1:03:20.  Abdi is in the midst of marathon training for Boston.  As we found out last year, you never can tell from the half what will happen in Boston.
First to Bernard, your experience, your thoughts about your first half being out on the roads, please.
BERNARD LAGAT:  Thank you very much, Richard.  I had so much fun today.  Especially those first miles up to nine, I was still enjoying it until like when the pace kind of picked it up a little bit after the ninth mile.  That is when I started feeling a little tired over there.
I kept trying to see if I could push a little more, but the guys were hammering it up, and I could not take my‑‑ get myself moving around that time.¬† I kept digging deeper because I wanted to run a good time.
I'm pleased with my time, 62.  Of course, I wanted to see if I could run something faster than that.  First experience, it was tough, but now I know how to run a half marathon in the future.

Q.  We'll go quickly just to Abdi for a comment.  Abdi, your thoughts on your own performance and maybe even what Bernard did because you were training so hard with him for the last few weeks.
ABDI ABDIRAHMAN:  First off, Bernard ran a great race today.  He didn't surprise me actually.  I thought he would have run a little bit better if the weather was a little bit colder, and I'm proud of him.
At the same time, my race was great.  Just I lost the contact at the 7 1/2 mile and got a little stitch.  That's when I lost contact.  But at the same time, I'm happy with my performance.  I'm in the middle of heavy training.  So I'll do the workout in the morning, and in the afternoon I do another workout.
But I'm happy with my performance.  We'll find out in Boston in a couple of weeks.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions, just raise your hand.

Q.  Bernard, how did the weather affect you?
BERNARD LAGAT:  It was very cold.  It was quite cold, honestly.  I was trying to stay warm in there at the beginning.  And then when the race started, I was still feeling like hitting straight inside, and I'm like whoa.
But it was affecting everybody.  So it wasn't only me, and everybody that finished the race, it was cold.  But it was the weather, and it was all across for everybody.  So it wasn't like an impossible thing.
If it was a little warmer, I don't know what could have happened.  I don't know what things could have been.  I'm pleased with my performance.
THE MODERATOR:  Again, a reminder, it was 30 degrees at the starting time at the race.

Q.  Bernard, were you happy that the race started off so slow?  I mean, let's say it didn't start off like it has in years past just with the fast start.  What would you have done in that situation?  Were you happy it started off so slow that you could run with the pack?
BERNARD LAGAT:  I was happy with the way it started.  I was just telling myself, wow, Abdi and Juan Luis were quite right to begin with.  They were telling me, you're not going to feel like it's going to be real fast.  So you're going to be relaxed.
And when it started, even those hills, I was telling myself, I can't believe we're almost done with the hills.  I can't believe it.  When we finished the hills, I was thinking, oh, my goodness, we're close already to Seventh Avenue.  It was, of course, slower than normal.
I even felt like where's Wilson Kipsang?¬† This must be even slower for him.¬† You could tell at the end that was‑‑ he was comfortable with that pace, I'm sure.

Q.  Bernard, do you see yourself as having a future in road racing as compared to track racing?  Any idea when you might possibly transition from one to the other?
BERNARD LAGAT:  You know, I think I'm going to be doing once in a while something like this because I think it's fun.  First of all, I was able to meet and get together with people that I usually don't run with.  I'm a track guy.  These guys are road racers.  So it's kind of fun actually.  I enjoyed it.  I had much fun since Wednesday until today.
So I will be doing these kinds of runs, especially if I was to come here next year, I know now how to run, how to pace myself, and try to get good performance.

Q.  Are you focused on the 5,000?
BERNARD LAGAT:  Yes, I'm still focused on the 5,000.  That's what I'm going to be doing from now on, getting ready for the World Championships.

Q.  So how does this race fall into your plan as you try to prepare for U.S. Championships and then Moscow?
BERNARD LAGAT:  The training I've been doing was for this half marathon, and now this is all done now.  I have the training in me.  So I'm going to use that to benefit me to 5,000 meters.  I'm looking forward to the 5,000 when the season starts.
THE MODERATOR:  If we have no more questions for either Bernard or Abdi, we're pleased to have our champion Wilson Kipsang.  Any other questions for Abdi or Bernard?  One more.

Q.  So you're back to Arizona after this?
BERNARD LAGAT:  Yes, I'm back in Arizona and doing some work again with my coach over there and my training partner Abdi and Steven Sambu.
THE MODERATOR:  And a little bit warmer.
BERNARD LAGAT:  And it's a bit warmer over there.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Abdi.  Thank you, Bernard.

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