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October 31, 2013

Lopez Lomong


LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I continue to push to maybe the next marathon.テつ I don't know at this moment yet when that's going to be.

Q.テつ I'm interested in getting‑‑ I know you grew up in America.テつ I'm interested‑‑ in a way, you're an international athlete as well, because of your home.テつ So in light of the Boston bombing, I'm really interested to find out‑‑ getting your perspective because you grew up in war.テつ So how‑‑ when you heard the news, how did that affect you as a runner who runs down the roads a lot?テつ Does that enter in your mind, or mostly are you thinking of the horrors that you went through growing up?テつ Where do you sort of put the Boston security issue in your mind?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Yeah, I was devastated to see the pictures on TV that happened in Boston last year.テつ To see a race like a marathon that everybody come here to‑‑ like it's a celebration of running, and end up to be like a target.テつ I was devastated.
My sport is being violated, and I hope that we're not going to see that ever again in the U.S. or around the world because some of us, we run for joy.テつ We run for some cause and what is really make us run.テつ We don't want anybody to be able to kind of terrorize that goal and that dream.

Q.テつ Have you ever run in fear?テつ And if so, tell me about it.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Yeah, well, I grew up in a different‑‑ you know, I come from a different country, a different environment, and that I was running‑‑ basically, I was running for my life.テつ So I was running away from the people who want to harm me.

Q.テつ Running away from the people who wanted to hurt you?

Q.テつ Tell me, for people who don't know.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Yeah, I mean, just like I was born in South Sudan in the middle of Civil War which was going on out there between‑‑ and I was in the middle of it, and I was 6 years old at the moment, and I was kidnapped and trained to be a soldier, and I escaped that horrific moment.

Q.テつ Trained to be a what soldier?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ To be a child soldier.テつ And I was running to just escape from people who want to harm me or hurt me or do everything.
But now coming back to this country‑‑ again, this is a country that really represents my dream as an athlete and represent my dream of why I'm running.テつ That's why I came back here, and I was really welcomed by the American people.テつ I just want to take the opportunity to give thanks to the American people who extend their hand to welcome me in this country.テつ I want to do the best I can to represent this nation when the Olympics comes.

Q.テつ So when you heard the news of Boston, where were you watching the TV?テつ What city?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I was actually in Mammoth Lakes because two of our athletes were running it, Shalane Flanagan was running the race and Kara Goucher was running the race as well in the elite.
So we were watching, and all of a sudden, you see the pictures, and it's like chaos going on in Boston.テつ It was just like awful to see that because it was somebody that we are so connected to was there, and all our coaches and people like that, we're trying to like figure out are they okay?テつ All the cell phones were completely shut off because of like the whole thing.
You know, I was happy that my teammates were okay, but I was very devastated for the people who lost their lives and got hurt, and the kids who lost their lives that week and their family members and such.

Q.テつ What's your approach to running roads, when it's not protected, given your upbringing?テつ Is it something that you just don't think about because you've lived through the worst hell?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ This is the United States of America.テつ We can overcome anything.テつ You know, it's‑‑ we have a lot of people helping us, and it's just like to secure our sport.テつ I think we can overcome anything.

Q.テつ I talked about this in May.テつ I don't know if you bring your family to these races.テつ But have you thought about do I want my kids and my wife at the finish line?テつ Maybe I just should leave them home.テつ Does that hit you?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ No, I bring my family with me.

Q.テつ Are they going to come?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ No, I'm running 5K, and my girlfriend is actually running the marathon.テつ So she's running the marathon.テつ I'll be out there cheering for her, helping her, just kind of like be supportive.

Q.テつ Is she elite?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ No.テつ She's running for the cause.

Q.テつ Which one?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ One of the causes ‑‑ like she went to Oxford, and one of her Oxford classmates were doing something like charity or something like that.テつ So she's running that.

Q.テつ So is she going to be‑‑ do you think she'll be three hours, four hours?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Her goal is to break three hours, and I'm going to be out there running through New York City to support her as much as I can.

Q.テつ Can you say her name, or you want to keep it private?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Brittany Morreale.

Q.テつ Will this be her first marathon?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ No.テつ She really ran a few.テつ She ran three marathons before, and this is her‑‑ a big one.テつ I'm from New York, and I'm from Upstate New York, and I'd kind of like to see it.

Q.テつ What town did you grow up in?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ In Upstate New York, Syracuse.テつ Like a little town.テつ I live on one of the five Finger Lakes.

Q.テつ Where do you live now?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I live in Oregon, Oswego, Oregon.

Q.テつ That's a Portland suburb, right?

Q.テつ Lopez Lomong, back in New York City, a city where you've been very successful throughout your career.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Yes.テつ I mean, it's fantastic to be back home.テつ I consider this city as like a place that my dream as an athlete came to be true.
Coming back here and running the 5K on Saturday, I think, is a fantastic thing, and I'm so blessed to be able to help people who always, always are supporting my career and supporting me from like high school through college and now, doing things for a living.テつ So I just want to come back and have a great time and enjoy it.テつ And celebrate with my fans.

Q.テつ A great field for Sunday's race.テつ What do you want to get out of this race?テつ Do you have any goals?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I think the goal is just to do everything I can to like‑‑ it's the preseason still.テつ We just started training.テつ I think I'm going to go there and put myself in position to win it.テつ At the end of the day, it's a competition, and we'll see how I can do.テつ I have three more months to see where I need to go and things like that.
I'm not going to beat myself, why am I not winning this race, or something like that.テつ But the ultimate goal is to win the race and win for the fans and all my friends and family members who are here.テつ So, yeah, it will be great.

Q.テつ Now, 2013 is kind of coming to a close.テつ Looking back, what do you reflect on?テつ What are your thoughts on the whole year?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I think I had a great indoor season.テつ I think it's a fantastic indoor season, and it's all here in New York City.テつ Then, of course, like outdoors, a little bit like I had a little problem.テつ I didn't perform the way I wanted to perform in World Championships, but I'm happy I get to compete for the United States in Russia.
And now just come back and polish all these other things, like what happened.テつ And I'll put myself in 2013 a B‑plus.テつ If I could have a very good outdoor season, it would have been an A.テつ Again, I'm not going to beat myself up when I look back on it.テつ I'm just going to cherish the moment and go back and do the work and get myself ready to go and hope for a very good 2014.

Q.テつ Lopez, we actually met up at the charity race.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Oh, yeah.

Q.テつ It was a cool experience for the kids.テつ Now you're here to run the 5K.テつ I want to chat about your high school career in New York, and now you're coming back to run in New York.テつ How does it feel coming back to race in front of familiar fans, saw you grow up in high school, and sort of the team bonding even within New York State?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ It's an incredible thing.テつ I'm really, really blessed to still continue with the running, and I could not do it by myself.テつ With my peers and my teammates and my family, like everybody in this state who really supported me and encouraged me to go like even farther and go the extra miles.テつ So I'm happy to come back and run again here in New York.

Q.テつ Definitely, given your success on the high school field and coming back last winter running at the armory, you had some great races down there.テつ Is New York sort of a good luck charm for you?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I hope so.テつ Every time I come back here, I have like a real energy because I'm connected to this.テつ I love the city.テつ I love the like environment, like college here, like everything.テつ It's kind of like I feel like I'm still in high school, and it brings back memories.
I just come back here for a great time and enjoy the city and enjoy the fans.テつ I think, hopefully, one of our athletes right now, like some of the kids right now running either in the states and Federations like that, or even here in Van Cortlandt Park, they know they can continue to go to the next level next time.

Q.テつ You're training in Oregon right now?

Q.テつ Sort of a different experience than in New York.テつ Might be a little wet the next couple of days.テつ How do you think you'll be able to adapt to sort of the weather changes and all the different effects on the race?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I really have a great training group.テつ It's very important.テつ A great, great group of guys, and we all work very hard to accomplish something in the world.テつ Ultimately, to be on the podium, and that's what we are there for.
I think the weather, I don't mind really rain that much.テつ As long as I just put my rain coat on me and just go for a run.テつ Also, I have great guys who are always running, you know, with me and things like that.テつ So kind of like supporting me. テつWe all encourage each other.

Q.テつ Are you going to be running more roads?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I have to come back and defend my title.テつ I think that's in the works right now, and that's why I need to go back to work.テつ Again, I think I have a lucky charm here in New York.
It doesn't matter how big the crowd is, it's still people like cheering you and cheering for your name.テつ It's just fantastic.テつ I would like to come back here and hopefully do the better job than what I did?

Q.テつ You broke the American record.テつ You'd have to break your own American record for that.テつ As a New Yorker, you always acknowledge growing up, being adopted, and living in New York State.テつ To New Yorkers, that endears you tremendously.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Thank you.テつ Thank you very much.

Q.テつ Coming from New York, people, wherever they are, from the journey you've been on and to embrace New York.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Thank you.

Q.テつ I know you feel it when you're running around the track, you hear the cheers, they're really pulling for you.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Exactly.

Q.テつ It doesn't matter, just the fact that you're out there competing, and obviously it's selling very well.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Thank you very much.

Q.テつ Next year is a non‑championship year.テつ Are you perhaps going to go looking for finishing times?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Yeah, I think next year I will probably focus on 5,000 and see what I'm able to do on 5,000.テつ So I think‑‑ a lot of room for improvement, and I hope I don't have to go through all these things.テつ We'll sew how next year is going to go.

Q.テつ Perhaps some success next year at the 5,000, you'll be looking towards Rio.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Yes, exactly.テつ Right now like Rio is in my mind and in my dreams.

Q.テつ It's not that far away.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ It's not.

Q.テつ Less than three years.
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ Exactly, yeah.

Q.テつ Is there a possibility of doing a double?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I don't know yet.テつ I don't know how strong‑‑ we'll see.テつ That's definitely a possibility.テつ But I'm probably just going to see how 2014 is going to come, and then we can look at how that can be a possibility.

Q.テつ Do you spend time in New York?
LOPEZ LOMONG:テつ I'm going to be here until like Monday.テつ My family is coming down.テつ Hopefully see my cousin in Brooklyn, see a little bit, enjoy the city.

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