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ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON


November 3, 2013


Buzenesh Deba

Priscah Jeptoo

Jelena Prokopcuka


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

Q.  Priscah, when you began to close the gap, did you think you would have enough time to catch the leaders?  They were several minutes ahead of you at one point.
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  First of all, I realized that I did a mistake to leave the two ladies who was leading.  So I was trying my best because I knew that, I mean, I train well, and I was in good shape.  So I tried to push myself to see that I am supposed to close the gap before they reach 40 kilometers.
You know when they reach 40 kilometers, it could be difficult for me to close the gap.
THE MODERATOR:  Priscah, the gap was 3:29 at mile 14.  I don't know if you know it was that much of a gap.

Q.  My question was, too, did you know how big the gap was?  And was there a time when you could no longer see the leaders or know where they were?
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  I didn't know the gap was, but there was a guy who was riding a bicycle.  He came and told me that you are behind three minutes.  I realized that three minutes is almost one kilometer.  So I started to push the pace.
I knew, and I was having confidence that I will make it.

Q.  Jelena, you also came on very, very strong at the end to take third place.  Can you talk about the finish of the race for you.
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  I'm really happy because my dream has come true.  I really wanted to be on the podium.
Of course, today was a difficult day to run because it was a strong wind, and no one wanted to run in front of pack.  But I like this course, and I know this course very well.
I'm thinking about this mile uphill, the last mile uphill, a difficult place in this marathon, and I started to push myself as strong as I was able, and I made a gap, and it gave me a chance to win third place.
I was very surprised when I saw, after 25 miles, the lady in front of me, at that moment, she was third.  And I catch her, and I was really happy to be on the third position.

Q.  You thought you were catching fifth?
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  After 30 kilometers, we were running together, a girl from France and from Italy, Straneo and Daunay.  We were running together, and during this mile, I push myself and get the gap.

Q.  Jelena, you were last here in 2007, and you were also third.  It's been six years.  You're 37 years old.  What's going on?  What happened to make you come back so strongly and finish the same place you did in '07 after two wins in '05 and '06?
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:¬† My last marathon was 2008 in Boston, and then I wanted to have a baby.¬† Unfortunately, it took me so long time.¬† I was pregnant, but my first pregnant was unfortunately‑‑ I lose my pregnancy.¬† Then I waited some time to get another.
Now I have a son.  He's 2 years and 6 months.  And when I give birth to my son, I start my training, and easily, easily improve my shape.  Now I am third.  So I'm really, really very happy.
THE MODERATOR:  Jelena, I remember the days when you won here before, '05, '06.  Your English is much better now.
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  Thank you.  I thought I lost it because I didn't use it a long time.  Thank you so much.

Q.  Jelena, wasn't it true that you were like the last elite to arrive last year?  You were going through customs when you found out that the race had been cancelled.  Talk about how that affected you last year, and did it give you motivation to come back this year?
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  Of course, I was very disappointed, yes, because I was good prepared for the marathon, and I arrived on Friday, and I knew about cancellation in the airport, standing in the huge queue for passport control.
A lot of things going very wrong.  My luggage doesn't come, no taxi, cancelled marathon, and everything was so bad.  Of course, I was very, very disappointed.
But thank you for possibility to run in Yokohama because of‑‑
THE MODERATOR:  Accommodations.
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:¬† To run Yokohama, and it was a possibility to run and to do something because preparation‑‑ I did good preparation.¬† I had a lot of strength and nerve.
Of course, it was difficult because I arrived from Latvia to New York, come back, and from Latvia go to Japan.  So it was very terrible travel, and I had very big problem with my muscles because during the race in Yokohama, I had a cramp in my leg.
Fortunately, I was fourth, and I think four seconds or six seconds in front of me was third place.  So I was disappointed, and then I was happy.

Q.  Did you run one in the spring or not?
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  In spring I ran the Nagoya Marathon, in February.

Q.  Jelena, when you saw the two leaders go out by so much so fast, were you thinking they're very smart or they may be crazy?
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  When I started to run, two girls go away, and I wanted to run with them, but maybe at that moment I wasn't so confident, and I decided to run with all group.
For me, the pace was a little bit slower.  I wanted to run faster.  But wind today, and I decided to run with a big group and then to do what I can.

Q.  Priscah, it was very brave of you to run alone for so long.  Did you try to get another runner to go with you when you broke away from the pack to chase Deba?
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  No, I didn't get another person to run with me after leaving the group because I knew that the two ladies have gone far away.  So I push alone so much, and you know it was very cold wind.
But I try to persevere because I knew that I had trained a lot and nothing to fear.

Q.  Could any of the runners talk about how the crowd helped you run, what you hear from the crowd as you're going along in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  The crowd, they really helped me a lot because they were cheering, joyful, and also they were helping me, telling me, you are closing the gap.  Go, go, go, move.  So they helped me a lot.
BUZUNESH DEBA:  A lot of people watch us, and they're cheering us.  I'm so happy.

Q.  How about in the Bronx?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Bronx is my home, and I'm so happy.  Yeah, I want to say thank you, Bronx.
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  The atmosphere during the race was amazing, and sometimes it was too loud.  But the last 2K, it helped me a lot when I was running during the Central Park, and, of course, it helped me a lot.  Thank you.

Q.  Priscah, who was the person on the bicycle?  Was it a course official who told you you were 3:30 behind?
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  I thought it was official, and I don't know where from, but he really helped me a lot.  He was telling me the time I am behind, three minutes from the leading group.

Q.  Buzunesh, you guys just ran away from everyone.  Are you happy with your race strategy?  You took second.  I mean, you can't be too disappointed.  But is there anything that you would redo?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yeah, I'm happy.  I thought I came first place, but I know her.  She is very strong, and I was cramp, I was sick.  My pace goes down.  It was too cold and windy.
But I'm so happy I came second.

Q.¬† For the runner‑up, I was wondering, did you have the plan to run away from the beginning when you start the race?¬† Was that the plan before you start the race, to go away right away?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yes, that's my plan.  I need to run my best time.  My training is very good.  I prepared very good, yeah.

Q.  For Buzunesh, when you were caught finally near the end by Priscah, did you think that you could catch her again, or did you know at that point that she was going to go by and win?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yeah, I tried to, but I was sick badly, cramp.
THE MODERATOR:  Cramp where?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Here (pointing to abdomen).
THE MODERATOR:  In your stomach?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yes.

Q.  Buzunesh, to follow up, the strategy to go out hard from the beginning, was that largely a result of how the last race went in 2011?  Was it a direct result of you having to chase somebody down in that race?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yes, I have experience.  San Diego Marathon 2011, I lead by myself, and 2011 New York City Marathon too.  Yeah.

Q.  Buzunesh, did you have any idea how far ahead you were?  Did you ever look back, or did anyone tell you that you were three minutes ahead?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  No, I didn't know that.  No, nobody's tell me.

Q.  Did the wind affect your plan at all?  Did you start the race and think there was too much of a headwind to run away?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yes, it affected.  2011 was nice weather, no wind.  This was a lot windier.

Q.  But you still felt confident to be able to go?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yes, I have confidence.

Q.  And I just wanted to ask about the runner, I think, that was your friend running with you for much of the race.  Was that the plan to be with you for that?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yes, we're training together.  She's strong.  Yeah, that's our plan.

Q.  Can you tell us when you began to feel the cramp, at what point in the race?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  I think the eighth mile.
THE MODERATOR:  And it stayed with you the whole time?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yeah.

Q.  Priscah, you spent most of the race doing a chase, chasing down the lead group.  When you got to Central Park and the chase was complete and you could focus on trying to get the victory, how was your confidence, your morale, once you reached Central Park and could look ahead for the victory?
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  I was very, very happy when I saw that I reached to the finish line when I am a winner, because I use a lot of energy chasing the leading group, and also there is a very bad wind.
But I was having a lot of confidence, and I was really prepared for this race, even mentally.  So I had nothing to fear.  I was coming here to fight because I know there is a lot of challenges from everybody.

Q.  Jelena, was there any talk in the pack about we had better start getting them, we had better start chasing now, they're too far ahead?
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  No, we didn't talk about.  We just run, and when after 25K, we were together with Kiplagat, me, Straneo, and Christelle, and we were running all the time, changing in front, but we didn't think, and they didn't talk and just running.
We saw Priscah, and we saw Kiplagat in front, and we caught Kiplagat, and we were running, but we didn't see Priscah.  Just running between us, it was a struggle between us.

Q.  Priscah, talk a little about winning the World Marathon Majors and how coming into this race, you knew that how you did here would say whether you won or did not win the majors.  How did that affect the way you ran the race?
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  It did not affect because I wanted it to be a win, but the way I started to run disappointed me.  Toward the finishing, I might be a winner.  This is a great moment for me, and this is a day I will not forget for the rest of my life.

Q.  As somebody who obviously has experience on the course and lives here, did you notice a stronger security presence?  Did you feel that?  And if not, did the race feel any different to you than it had in the past because of, obviously, the storm and what happened in Boston and so forth and so on.
BUZUNESH DEBA:  I'm not afraid.  I know the place and the course.  The security is very tight, yeah, everywhere.  I'm not afraid.
THE MODERATOR:  You noticed a difference?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Yes, a difference.
THE MODERATOR:  What did you notice different?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  I think after the Boston Marathon, it's very tight.  It's different.  A lot of securities for safety, for runners and everybody.

Q.  Buzunesh, what's next in terms of performance?
BUZUNESH DEBA:  Maybe Boston Marathon, yeah.

Q.  Jelena?
JELENA PROKOPCUKA:  I don't know.  Maybe Tokyo.

Q.  Priscah, do you know what's next?
PRISCAH JEPTOO:  I don't know now because I'm going to sit with my coach and manager, and we'll decide what to do next.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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