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November 1, 2013

Daniele Meucci

Valeria Straneo


DANIELE MEUCCI:テつ I felt very good after the world championship.テつ In fact, I decided to run a marathon shortly after that.テつ I felt a lot of enthusiasm.テつ I had been looking forward to this marathon for a long time.テつ I always wanted to run it.テつ So I would say enthusiasm is the word.テつ I feel very good, and I can't wait to run on Sunday.

Q.テつ Can you talk a little bit about sort of a strategy that you have in place for Sunday.テつ Are you just going to kind of go with whatever the pace is, more tactical?
DANIELE MEUCCI:テつ I don't have a strategy as such.テつ I like to follow whatever my body tells me, my feelings, and I like to see how the race evolves and what the other girls do.テつ I tend not to look that much at what other runners do.テつ In general, I do like to be in the front, but if I see that the other girls start off too fast, then I will not because I really want to follow what my body tells me.
So, yeah, I follow my feelings, the way my body feels.

Q.テつ And just talk a little bit about why you wanted to run New York.テつ What is it about this race that attracted you here?
DANIELE MEUCCI:テつ The New York Marathon is the most famous marathon in the world, and I've been dreaming of running it for years and years.テつ Unfortunately, I was here last year, and then we all know how it ended up.テつ But it's no problem.テつ This year it was really important for me to do it.
In Italy, it was a very well‑known marathon, and all over the world it is.テつ It is the marathon with a capital M, and this year that I was invited to be here, it really feels like a dream come true.テつ So I'm really happy.

Q.テつ I'd like to know what's the‑‑ we're seeing many athletes that are over 35 in this marathon, and what's the secret for her to keep running in such a nice‑‑ an excellent performance.テつ You're 37, right?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ Yeah, right.テつ In my specific case, I have a particular health history, and I became really strong as a runner after 2010, after I had a splenectomy surgery, and I suffered from a hereditary dysfunction in red blood cells.
So after the surgery, I was able to solve my anemia issue, so that's what made it able for me to run at this strong of a level, overcoming my health challenge.
About older runners, over 35 in general, I think psychological maturity plays an important role.テつ You do learn physically to balance your loads better, but it is, most importantly, a head issue, a brain issue, because marathons are won with your legs but mostly with your head.

Q.テつ I'd like to know if she thinks that records can be broken this year or what is it necessary to break a record in a marathon like this?テつ We haven't seen in the women's since 2003, a record being broken.
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ What's the record?

Q.テつ It's 2:22:31.テつ It's from 2003, since like ten years already.
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ I had no idea.テつ I think this year with the two athletes, Kiplagat and Jeptoo, it is likely.テつ It could happen.テつ It could happen.テつ They are the strongest athletes in the world.テつ So it could happen.

Q.テつ So your spleen issue, did that‑‑ were you a good runner younger, and then it affected you for a number of years?テつ Or do you think it was affecting you even in high school and college?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ This health issue is something I've dealt with ever since I was born.テつ So I ran my whole life with anemia, and I thought it was normal.テつ And so I was a decent runner but not a professional.テつ That's what I thought was normal.
Then when I had my surgery in 2010, then I went back to running, and I just saw a completely different performance and different results.テつ And so at that point, I decided I wanted to try to pursue this more professionally and did that starting in 2011.テつ I obtained really good placements in several races.
And then at one point I met the minimal qualifications for Olympic levels, and at that stage, I decided to leave my day job and devote myself completely to athletics and to running.

Q.テつ So you really had no plan to be a professional runner until‑‑
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ No, not at all.

Q.テつ What was her day job?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ A primary daycare teacher.テつ Caring for small children from 0 to 3‑year‑olds.

Q.テつ Did you have a coach before your surgery, and did you end up with the same coach?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ It's the same coach.

Q.テつ Did he‑‑

Q.テつ She must have changed all of‑‑ your whole training must have changed.
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ When you have a winning method, you don't change that.

Q.テつ But I mean, from before the surgery.
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ No, I never changed.テつ Well, what has changed is that, before the surgery, I would only train once a day, and, of course, the trainings are directly proportional to the effort I can bear, and now I can bear a lot more.
So now I train twice a day, and all my life revolves around my running practice, and so they changed in terms of quality and quantity.

Q.テつ You're still getting‑‑ you're still improving, I think.
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ I think so.テつ I hope so.テつ Unfortunately, I'm 37.

Q.テつ I joke, if you're an Eastern European, you have until 42.テつ At the World Championships, you were behind‑‑ Edna won.テつ Were you with her, or did you think at any time you were going to win the race?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ No.テつ No, I never thought or dreamt that I could win.テつ I didn't even think I could make it to the podium at all.テつ During the race at the 35th kilometer, when I turned around and I saw that it was only Edna ahead of me and nobody else, I was so surprised.
Myself, I don't have a really fast ending, and they have that.テつ So they're really the strongest.テつ So for me, it's already a lot to be on the podium.

Q.テつ So if you don't have a kick for Sunday, when it starts off slow, will you go ahead?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ Do you mean if she starts slower?

Q.テつ You must have watched on television every New York City Marathon.
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ No.テつ Just a few.

Q.テつ Sometimes they go out slow.テつ One of my favorite marathon moments was when Jelena Prokopcuka went ahead, and they didn't go with her.テつ She won.

Q.テつ Marテδュlson Gomes dos Santos twice also, the same thing.テつ They're slow, and she goes.テつ Do you plan to stay always with them, or do you think, if it's too slow, you'll go ahead?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ Usually, I have a very steady pace, and I don't like to sprint ahead.テつ I want to keep a regular steady pace.テつ But also, in this particular race, you have to adapt your pace to the path itself, and there's all kinds of different levels.テつ So you need to adjust for that.
But I usually like to just follow my feelings, the way my body feels.テつ Of course, I watch the competitors to see what they're doing, but I mostly follow what my body is telling me to do.テつ So we'll see on the spot.テつ We'll see on the day what happens.テつ I will improvise depending on what all the conditions are.テつ I really can't predict what tactic I'm going to use.

Q.テつ The first marathon you ran after your spleen surgery?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ Berlin in 2011.テつ 2:26:32.

Q.テつ So were you surprised with how good the time is?
VALERIA STRANEO:テつ I thought I would get to just slightly under 2:30, and then this 2:26 came up, and that was a huge surprise.

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