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ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON


November 3, 2013


Mary Wittenberg


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Hello.テつ I'm just here to thank you for being here, see if you have any questions, to share that we very much still have an event going on.テつ I'll try not to be emotional, but it's a very emotional day.
We had an amazing start to this race with a whole lot of feeling about running for New York and running for Boston, and there was an overwhelming spirit I've never felt out there of people really‑‑ as I've said a few times throughout the week and just felt it everywhere throughout the day, just a clear appreciation of something that I don't think we'd ever take for granted, but maybe when you get to do it every year, you somehow do.
So there was‑‑ I remember 9/11 as a very emotional year and start, but this was different with a lot of celebratory feel to it but with a real sense of running for meaning for New York and Boston.
I was absolutely floored by the crowds.テつ I mean, you all know me.テつ As a team, we're quite invested in all this, and I just was kept being moved at every corner.テつ Especially Brooklyn, all the early neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and then in Queens in the new area‑‑ you know how we come off the Pulaski now.テつ That's all new in the past few years.テつ Never seen it crowded like that before.テつ It was packed.
And into First Avenue, and I turn off and head over here, and I think because it was a cold day, I think like later, it was just beginning.テつ I'm sure Central Park South was packed later in the day.テつ I was earlier there.テつ It was just Brooklyn and Queens and kind of the neighborhood areas were just full of people.
And then it's hard to get me to walk away from that finish line because there were so many amazing stories, and to have the races we had, and I thought those podiums were really just incredible podiums.テつ I was really excited for each of the athletes that were there.
Some really, really nice surprises, some really gutsy runs.テつ Just impressive in every way, and that somehow the pros often set the tone for the day.テつ That's what I think we've seen all the way out, all the way through at the finish line, just a lot of gutsy running.
Again, maybe I see it all in a different way now, but just a whole lot of really, really happy people.テつ So happy to be here.テつ Deeply appreciative of the city support.テつ Very aware of our last run with Police Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg, and they have just been unbelievable partners.
We're so in sync coming into this year's race with all that happened between New York and Boston, to have a great day for the city.テつ And, obviously, to all of our incredible volunteers who are still very much out there.テつ Wave 2 is finishing.テつ So we've got two more waves going, and those volunteers will be out there as will our dedicated staff.テつ So just appreciative of all the efforts and the opportunity to get to do what we do on marathon day.

Q.テつ Could you just walk us through how the plan, the security plan unfolded for you today.テつ Were there any incidents?テつ Were there any threats?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ No.テつ Well, I'm New York Road Runners, not the NYPD, but zero incidents, zero threats, really smooth, very noticeable increased presence.テつ Certainly coming in, that was a major change to have everybody screened.テつ I'm stunned at how seamlessly that moved.テつ We were a little bit slower in places but with plenty of time to spare.
And then throughout the course, noticeable police presence and use of barricades and tape, all that we expected.テつ I think it really was‑‑ it was a very good plan.テつ Still a good plan and still going, but I thought it was executed really, really well, at least everything that I've seen in a way that felt supportive.

Q.テつ Just to follow up on that, was there any point in person or what you monitor on TV where you look at the security and all the effort and say, is this where it's headed?テつ Is this where we are now?テつ Too much barricades and dogs and all that?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ No, it never felt too much at all to me.テつ What it felt is it's our new reality.テつ Many times I'd shoot a picture, and I wasn't even noticing that.テつ I shot this picture that we had this big Run For Life banner, and it says, When you hit the wall, fly over it, and the bridge is in the background.テつ It's absolutely beautiful.テつ And I don't even notice that there's either NYPD or the Army walking across the roof.
That's our new reality.テつ It's probably been a reality since 9/11, and I think it's a very supportive one.テつ So I never felt anything but that it was a really good presence.
I also believe that, or what I hear from so many of the city agencies that work with us, they like this event for New York City.テつ So I do think there's a touch to the way that our agencies support this event that has a good balance to it because they know what this is ultimately about, and people are here because they're here to run and here to support other runners, and that's the vast majority of the people that they engage with.

Q.テつ Should we assume then that this is the new norm, at least for a while, going forward?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Sure, I'd assume it for a while, absolutely.テつ Again, remember, it's like a step, right?テつ The way I remember it, a lot of years like this, then it was 9/11, a lot of years like this, but let's see.テつ We have a responsibility, the city does and we do, to keep everybody, support everybody for as safe an event as possible.
I think it's a normal we could feel really good about in terms of level of support.

Q.テつ It looked like the weather was a pretty nice temperature for people.テつ Were there any medical incidents, or how was the day?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ So far, so good.テつ I think we got a lot of lucky breaks with the weather.テつ It's a little warmer than we thought it would be, the wind a little more from the west than we thought it came from the north.
There's no question it was a tougher day for the sub‑three hour runner that's by themselves for men and women.テつ It was a pretty tough wind still.テつ But I think for most of the masses, recreation runners or fitness runners, fast or slow, seemed to be‑‑ I'm amazed the number I keep hearing of people walking by saying, My best race.テつ Two people just now, My best race in ten years.テつ I thought it was a little windier than that but...

Q.テつ Number of runners today, 50,000‑plus.テつ Was this just a great showcase for the city, sort of the city's back after what happened last year with the storm?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ It is one big showcase for the city, and also standing at the finish line, what you hear, things like this, Greatest city in the world.テつ They walked by.テつ They just finished a marathon, Greatest city in the world.
So, yeah, I think it is.テつ The marathon is a great analogy.テつ Marathon is about step by step, and this is a long recovery from Sandy.テつ You can go to parts of our city and see where they're not yet recovered, but there's progress, and that progress has to continue, and I just really‑‑ I just really hope that today is another good step forward for our city.

Q.テつ Getting back to the security and the spectators, I think you mentioned spectators before.テつ Did you see less spectators, and do you think the new security measures, the tighter security, the more barricades up meant that less people were able to be there for runners or be close to the runners?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Until I got to Central Park South, where I was early because the racers were still coming, the way I cut from the race, I saw more to return.テつ In fact, the first when I saw Commissioner Kelly, I said, They have a lot of confidence in you.テつ This city has a lot of confidence in you.
I mean, it was‑‑ I kept taking a video along the way.テつ I literally have never seen that kind of depth in Brooklyn and in parts of Queens than I've ever seen.テつ And what's amazing on First Avenue, which I talked to somebody about before, now with the bike lanes, the fans are closer to the runners, so it looks even deeper because there's actually more space and the fans are right there.
Until I turned off 72nd and First Avenue, I thought, more than I've ever seen.テつ It really‑‑ I think New Yorkers‑‑ I don't know.テつ It certainly looks like a high degree of comfort and being out in our city and with the support that's around them.

Q.テつ In terms of security, what precautions and policies did you take that weren't here two years ago in terms of whether heightened number of police or anything else?テつ I heard you say something about screening.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Yeah, there was a fair number of changes.テつ We are in support of the NYPD, and we're more focused on crowd control, logistics, and supplemental security around things like having to do with checking in and not coming into a main system, for example.テつ NYPD leads all the security efforts.
But both organizations‑‑ and I leave Commissioner Kelly to talk about his, and he's talked about them a lot. テつWe were at a press briefing together where he talked about them a lot earlier this week.テつ But we did things, as many people know, such as hiring a security firm to review our practices.テつ We had moved one of our star talent into full‑time focused on security related.テつ Our event team certainly spent more time than ever, and we made several logistical changes in support, more checking.
I'm only being short because I know how many other guys have heard some of this stuff.テつ Had some restrictions on the runners, like no camelbacks.テつ Definitely, made‑‑ no costumes with additional that we couldn't see your face, things like that.
And I think, again, I hope we struck a good balance, but definitely we added more measures than ever before.

Q.テつ Back on the number of entrants, so you handled 50,000‑plus this year.テつ Do you see that being the same for next year?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ I don't know yet.テつ We are still handling them.テつ What's interesting is all the numbers, all the traditional numbers of drop‑off from point of entry to point of pickup to marathon day didn't hold.テつ There was a much higher degree of people who ended up on race day at every step, from the number who started‑‑ I mean, from the number who signed up in the beginning to the number who signed up through the Expo.
So it's interesting.テつ Obviously, I think this race maybe meant a little bit more to everybody, and people were going to be back in it.テつ So we'll see.テつ I think everything's moving well.
It was a year we tried‑‑ two changes we were to introduce last year are now being really tried for the first time this year, and really helping manage crowd flow, and that is going to four waves and introduction of no bags for more than half the people is really‑‑ so far at this point in the race, we're really happy with how both of those elements helped reduce crowding on the course and helped reduce crowding leaving the park.

Q.テつ Once you cut across into the park, getting off the race and into command center, wherever you were, did you have a chance to monitor the women's race, coming from 3:30 minutes behind to win the race.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ What I was seeing, just the bits and parts.テつ I knew that Buzunesh and Tufa had taken off.テつ No, I just knew the basics.テつ I knew that Priscah was coming from behind.テつ When I was in the park, I was able to see when Buzunesh came back up, pretty remarkable.テつ So I just saw that much of a great race, the last few miles.

Q.テつ Do you guys have a final number of the charity runners, funds raised, or is it too early to talk about that?
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Definitely too early to talk about, but tomorrow we'll share whatever we have at our press event.テつ It's interesting again, and completely anecdotally, without any data, I should say, it did feel like I thought it might feel, which is like a lot of charity runners.テつ When you put the two years together, in terms of people in running vest, but we'll see what that translates to in terms of fund‑raising.
But being with a number of charities this morning, we just‑‑ people seemed really in a good place and appreciative, and I think, again, runners are probably‑‑ there was definitely a sense of added excitement being back here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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