home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
Asaptext.com
ASAPtext.com
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our
e-Brochure

NYC HALF


March 14, 2014


Michael Cassidy

Josh George

Jason Hartmann

Meb Keflezighi

Geoffrey Mutai

Matt Tegenkamp

Mary Wittenberg


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

MARY WITTENBERG:  While we are here for the New York City Half, we're incredibly excited to reflect back for a moment and have our official presentation now that he (Geoffrey Mutai) has his name and time written into our Samuel Rudin Tray that only goes to the champion of the Marathon.
So for your 2013 tremendous win, we present you your trophy.  So thank you.
Just on behalf of our whole team, thank you so much for joining, and as always, thank all of our athletes for being here for the New York City Half.  It's hard to believe it's actually the ninth running.  Our idea, when this began at the time, the Marathon was the big, large scale event, and weekly races were probably getting close to 5,000 people or so.
Our vision was to build the equivalent of the Marathon in terms of the positive impact of an event through half marathons, starting with the New York City Half, the idea being to welcome runners from around the world, give everybody a big challenge, get people excited about running, the New York City Half have an economic impact, welcome people from around the nation and the world, and help charities raise money through the half marathon distance.
As always, our goal is to help inspire adults and lots and lots of kids to get out and get running.  The role of these athletes, the best in the world and the best in New York City, is to put on a great show so that everybody is so excited to be part of an event that has the best in the world and in the city in it.  Hopefully, inspire not only ones who are in the race, but everybody watching to get out and get moving.
So this year what's extra special is we've always had a huge demand for this race without even a lot of publicity, but what we haven't had is a course that enabled us to welcome more runners to it.  So this year we're able to achieve a change in the course that will allow us to break what was the chain of the loop, full loop in the park, which meant the fast runners would catch the slow runners.  Now instead, we will exit the park, and this year it suddenly has a whole lot more meaning.  We will exit the park to run what we like to call 110th Street, the Harlem Gateway.
At the time, it was a great idea to touch some of Harlem and allow us to grow the field, and the number one thing was allowing us to add professional wheelchairs, who are so fast that before, obviously, the pro wheelers would loop back on the course.
Now with the very tragic explosion in Harlem, we will be running with those that were lost and hurt in the explosion in our minds.  We will begin the race with a moment of silence, and we will have a quiet zone at 110th.  We won't have a lot of music and dance, and it will give people kind of a moment to reflect.
We're excited about the new course.  We're proud to have pro wheelers.  That has been part of the vision from the beginning.
We're just ready to go, and we're particularly thankful the weather is going to be quite good relative to what it's been the last, it feels like about ten months, but last couple of weeks.
Chris and Lauren have all the metrics, but I think the runners are going to raise $2.5 million.  I think we have runners from close to all 50 states.  We had to turn away a lot of runners nation and worldwide, but we're just excited and ready to go and here to help in any way.
For those writing, it's important that not only people in New York share the race, but we share this with as many people.  We'll be on TV on WABC locally, livestream nationally, and people being able to see the race in several areas around the world, which is another new element for this year's race.
We encourage everybody who's trying to track anybody who download our app.  With our partner TCS, this is their first race, major race with us as a partner, and their app technology helps us help everybody, no matter where they are, track not only the front runners so you can see on television, but all the runners in the course of the race.
So thank you so much on behalf of our whole team.
THE MODERATOR:  It's my pleasure to introduce the men sitting up here at this table.  The 2013 Samuel Rudin Tray that Mary just presented him will go very nice with the 2011 Samuel Rudin Tray that he earned two years ago when he smashed the event record at the New York City Marathon by more than 2:30.
This is his first go at the New York City Half.¬† He'll be using it as a tune‑up for the Virgin Money London Marathon next month.¬† This is Geoffrey Mutai.
Last year at the New York City Half, he stretched those long legs to a 61:51 personal best.  That set him up nicely for his second consecutive fourth place finish at the Boston Marathon.  From Boulder, Colorado, Jason Hartmann.
As many of you know, Jason coaches top high school athlete Elise Cranny.  She is running at the New Balance Scholastic Championships at the Armory on Sunday.  So Jason is going to cross the finish line, get cleaned up, and go up to the Armory for her race at 3:00.
So his left in the red T‑shirt, he has run the 20K distance a couple of times.¬† He's run 25K.¬† He made his marathon debut at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last fall, but this will be his half marathon debut.¬† Whatever happens on Sunday, Matt Tegenkamp is walking away with a new personal best for Portland, Oregon.
He doesn't really need any introduction.  Olympic silver medalist, past winner of the New York City Marathon, has finished on the podium here at the New York City Half.  This is the ninth year of this race.  It's probably his seventh time running it.  From San Diego, California, Meb Keflezighi.
And to his left, a guy that will forever be closely linked to Meb in the eyes of many of us here, one of our local heroes.  The two ran together the last 5K of a difficult race for both of them last year at the New York City Marathon.  Olympic Trials qualifier, Staten Island Native, now living in Manhattan, Mike Cassidy.
THE MODERATOR:¬† And I am happy to introduce Josh George, part of our first ever field at NYC Half.¬† Josh won L.A. last weekend with a time of 1:33:11.¬† He's a three‑time Chicago Marathon Champion, and he probably is one of the fastest male half marathoners.¬† In 2012, Indianapolis, he ran a 47:45.¬† So we can't wait to see what he does for our NYC Half.¬† We're so happy to have Josh.
THE MODERATOR:  So I'll just go down the table with a question for each, and we'll open it up to the rest of you.
Geoffrey, you've been in New York a couple times.  It's your first time running the New York City Half, and a lot of people are talking about you facing Mo Farah.  What's your thoughts on racing Mo for the first time?
GEOFFREY MUTAI:  First of all, I'm very, very happy to be back again, to be invited to New York City.  Although it is not a marathon, it's a half marathon, but for me, I'm very happy to be invited again to come back.
On Sunday, I think every race must have a challenge, and that challenge must be‑‑ we must have a winner.¬† But for me to face Mo in the race is a great opportunity again because we have not met in a race.¬† Of course, for him he was in track and me also in road.
You know, for him, he's a King in the field.¬† Me, I'm owner of the road.¬† So we'll meet on Sunday, and then we know who will be‑‑ you'll see the winner at the finish.
For me, I cannot say how the race will be.
THE MODERATOR:  Of course, Mo and Geoffrey will meet again four weeks later at the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Jason, this race went pretty well for you last year.¬† Talk a little bit about coming back and how this helps you in your build‑up to Boston.
JASON HARTMANN:  The race perfectly fits into preparation for Boston.  Last year it was such a positive race for me and experience.  Just wanted to come back.  It worked well on the schedule.  Hopefully, on Sunday it works out well again.  It's just a good opportunity, good fit for me.
THE MODERATOR:  Matt, you ran Chicago in the fall and maybe talk a little bit about how you came out on the other side of that and where this race fits into your plans for the spring.
MATT TEGENKAMP:  Yeah, I think last year in Chicago, it was really a race to figure out if the marathon distance was going to be something that really hooked me, something that would bring some hunger back to the sport and really continue to push me forward.
Coming out of that, it was just such a different experience than what I've ever had in track and field.  I wanted to give so much more aerobically, but by about 23 miles, I was just totally depleted and cashed out.  It was just a different, different experience.  And it was kind of this puzzle that I really wanted to try to figure out.
So definitely like took my time, took a break, basically, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, something I probably should have taken similar to that my entire career.  I came back and started the year very hungry, excited to get training, and right now I feel like I'm really fit.
Something that Jerry Schumacher, my coach and I, have always taken great pride in is that my career has been very consistent.¬† I feel like‑‑ now I feel like I'm fit, but now it's time to test myself and see what I can do race day.

Q.¬† Meb, as I mentioned, you've been at the New York City half many, many times.¬† I should have counted it up before.¬† You know, I know New York‑‑ you went into New York with not a full load of training in November, but then you go out in January at the USA Half Marathon Championships and wax the field and win another National Championship.¬† You've got close to 30 now in your career.
At 38 years old, going on 39, talk about how you're feeling heading in your training for Boston and what your thoughts for the future are.
MEB KEFLEZIGHI:  It's great to be back in New York.  This is home away from home.  I love competing here, starting from back in the days, the 8K to the half marathon, when it was in August, finishing second there over Thomas, I believe, by two, three seconds.
In January and March, spring is huge.  And my last race last year pushing with Mike Cassidy was huge because at the sport you try to push your body to the envelope.  People are depending on you.  You try to do the best you can to represent yourself, your family, your country.
Sometimes you struggle through it, and when you're not able to finish at the finish line, you have to keep going, whether it's walking‑‑ just one thing, get to that finish line no matter what.¬† For me, unless I fell or bleeding or no matter what, that's what I'm going to do.
Mike wrote a beautiful blog.  I thought it was two miles, but I guess lack of oxygen, I was hurting so bad, I wanted it to be two miles to the finish line, but it was three miles.  We wanted to encourage each other to keep pushing to the finish line, as many others have encouraged me to go to the finish line with them.
I really couldn't.  My 20th mile at the New York City Marathon was 9:53, which is double what I usually go in a mile.  So took twice as long for one mile what I usually do per mile, but he encouraged me.  I said, Well, I'm going to try.  Kept trying and trying, and he was a lot more stronger to the finish line.  He could have left me behind.  But we just said we're going to cross holding hands together and be strong for each other for the duration.
That's what running is.  That's what the unity of sports is.  Even as Matt talked about we all hurt, you hope to hurt at the finish line or one mile away, instead of 15 like I was that year, last year.  At 19, gave up on my body, just like yours did.  But you got to the finish line, I got to the finish line.
I always say run to win.  It doesn't always mean first place.  But get the best out of yourself, each day of your lives.
Mike sent me an e‑mail, Hopefully, you didn't do too much damage going into the spring.¬† Luckily, I didn't.¬† I came back, took two weeks off, went to Athens for an appearance there for the marathon, came back, and started jogging a little bit.
I just have to get my fitness back to New York, before I got injured.  I did that for the Houston Half.  I wasn't really ready, ready, but I used confidence now from practice and training, what you have done.
I said, None of those guys finished fourth at the London Olympic games.  I was there.  I finished fourth.  Let me see now what I can do at the USA National level.  My experience came, and I made a move at nine miles, which I thought was ten miles.  I'm like, I think I made my move too early.
You know what, you hold your composure and believe in yourself and keep doing the right thing.  Came out with a title, which is my 22nd.  So it gave me great pride to represent our country the best way I know.
If you asked me when I was at UCLA, going to win USA title, I'd be so thrilled and happy.  But God blessed me with the career I had and the longevity I had.  Now I'll be 39 in May and looking forward to Boston.  Stay healthy between now and then and give it a shot for what will be a special moment for all of us because of what happened there.  I crossed five minutes before the bomb exploded.
But every day you think about this able body we have.  We want to push.  We want to be motivated to give it our 110 percent.  I hope to do it on Sunday.
MARY WITTENBERG:  Sam, I just want to chime in.  As Meb is talking about the finish lines, what matters a lot in the relationships that develop is getting to the start line.  Last year was an incredibly meaningful event coming off New York '12 and Boston '13.  Meb knew he was banged up and was not in the form that everyone would be willing to step out there on such a huge stage, and Mike had hoped to qualify for the trials and would have run on a flat course if he was choosing just based on opportunity.
So for both of us, it meant a lot that you started last year's race, and it was incredibly fitting how it ended.  You need to know how much we all appreciated the start line.
THE MODERATOR:  And then right to Meb's left in the screaming yellow of the Greater New York Racing Team, Mike Cassidy.
Mike, you enjoy a little bit of a home advantage.  You get to train on the New York City Half course a lot more than Geoffrey does.  What does it mean to you to have a race like this in your home city?
MICHAEL CASSIDY:  It's great for me to share this with other people who have run races in Central Park and won.  It's nice.
But I think it's only home field advantage if Geoffrey makes the wrong turn.
But for me, it's really great to be able to run with the world's best in front of a hometown crowd, and to see my family out there, to see my friends out there, to go over the same trails that in training I run every day.
And one of the things, finishing with Meb last year that meant so much to me, is a lot of times when you're out there running by yourself on a 23‑mile run, your mind wanders.¬† You think about it, and you imagine yourself running against the world's best.¬† You imagine crossing the finish line with an Olympic champion or a New York City champion.
For me, to be able to have done that this year at the New York City Marathon was the highest honor of my career, and at the same time, I think, to get out there in the field and do it again and compete against these guys and compete with the rest of New York who's going to be out there, that's really what makes our sport beautiful because everyone gets to compete on the same field.
That's not something you'll see in football or basketball or something else.  We're all out there together and making ourselves better and pushing ourselves to our limits.
THE MODERATOR:  And, Josh, you know the loop in the park, but you don't know the rest of this course.  You don't know the rest of the course at all.  So tell us what you think and feel.  It's a first time.
JOSH GEORGE:  I am absolutely incredibly excited to be back in New York City racing again.  The New York City Marathon is always one of my favorite races of the year, usually my favorite race of the year regardless of the outcome, and to be able to come back and get another race in the city is phenomenal.
I know the Central Park part of the course very well, been doing it for training before the marathon every year.  And I'm actually really excited to get out onto West Side Highway and hopefully catch a tail wind and enjoy some flat ground in New York.  You don't get much of that in the marathon.
So it will be nice to pick up some speed and cruise through down the West Side, and finishing down in the Financial District will be fun as well, just a different part of the city that I've never gotten to race through.
It's always neat when you've driven through parts of the city, walking through parts of the city‑‑ I've been coming back and forth here my entire life.¬† But it's a much different experience when the roads are shut down, and it's just for you to get to tear through the roads.
Regardless of the fact it's been a rough winter, we might have to zig zag a little bit around some pot holes, it will still be a great experience.

Q.¬† Meb, you started the year, you're undefeated in half marathons this year.¬† Congratulations for that.¬† What has your‑‑ how much has your training changed between your buildup to that race and this, which comes maybe two‑thirds of the way towards Boston?
MEB KEFLEZIGHI:¬† The training for the half marathon was all on single days, but I think I've been doing a lot of cross‑training in preparation for the marathon to get ready for this race.
I realized last year at the New York City Marathon how important mileage is, and my body gave up at 19.3.¬† I started doing double days‑‑ people always ask me‑‑ obviously, not you guys.¬† When I speak to first timers, do you run every day as a professional?¬† I run 12 times a week.¬† You do the math, double days.
I've been training a lot on double days and sometimes three times a day by doing elliptical training.  So it's been fun.  The endurance is there.  I was hoping to sharpen up the last couple weeks with my speed.  My hamstring got a little tight last week, but other than that, I couldn't have asked for a better training base in terms of the mileage, the long run.
I've done the distance.¬† I've done 5 miles at a sub‑5:00 pace and that stuff.¬† I've been putting about 100 to 120 miles a week in.
We'll see what happens on Sunday, and hopefully get ready for and be healthy on April 21st.

Q.¬† I know you're not part of the so‑called Mammoth Track Club anymore.¬† Do you still do your altitude work up there?
MEB KEFLEZIGHI:  No.  I've been very fortunate to move back to San Diego, where it's my home.  Mammoth was my home for a long time.  San Diego was my childhood.  It's the first city I ever moved to in the United States, over 26 years ago.  I'm living in Mission Hills, which is not too far away from Balboa Park.
When I started my first run in physical education class, it was at Balboa in junior high.  I just run by and see it.  Who knew I'd be doing what I'd be doing?  New York City champion, silver medalist, U.S. National champion, and the career that I had.  I'm blessed.
I was going to go to Mammoth last year in preparation for New York.  Due to injury, I wasn't able to.  If you have injury, it takes a longer time to recover at altitude because of lack of oxygen.  I'm planning to go to Mammoth next week hopefully for three or four weeks of altitude training before Boston Marathon.

Q.  Josh, you ran Chicago Marathon a bunch of times, but I've also seen you do, I believe, it was an 800 on the track in the World Championships.  Very few people in the running world have that kind of range, if even above that, starting off at sprints often.  You'll see wheelers competing at that level at the sprints as well as the marathon.  Do you have any idea why that is?  Why do wheelers have such a huge range as a runner?
JOSH GEORGE:¬† My hypothesis is that the technique really doesn't change that much‑‑ as much in a wheelchair race in terms of the speeds you're hitting and the endurance that you need for the race.¬† So I'll hit‑‑ if you look at the elite field on the track, they hit the same speeds in the 800, 1500, and 5K on the track.¬† It's just a matter of maintaining it.¬† And then basically we'll hit the same speeds in the marathon as we do in a 5K, just maintaining it for longer.
It's going to be a little bit different on the road, but it's more of a‑‑ you are on wheels.¬† So it's more of a momentum thing.¬† But once you get up to speed, it's all about just being able to stay at that speed.¬† You need to be able to accelerate at any distance because it's more of a pack racing type of event in any distance.¬† And so there's always going to be surges and recovery sessions.
So the acceleration, the top speed, and the endurance kind of needs to be there in every event.
I'm sort of lucky in a sense‑‑ or not lucky in a sense.¬† I'm more naturally a middle distance racer who over the past ten years has gradually been able to stretch that out to become a better distance racer, but still I won the World Championships in the 800 meters this past summer.¬† So I'm the current world champion in the 800.
But ever since that race, I've been training distance.  I had to jump right back into marathon season to get ready for the fall marathons and the spring marathons.

Q.¬† Matt, you said Chicago was kind of an interesting experience for you.¬† You want to talk a little bit about what you learned and how it's modified your training going in and what your plans are for your next one.¬† Are you going to jump‑‑ it sounded like it's unfinished business there, right?
MATT TEGENKAMP:¬† Yeah, definitely unfinished business.¬† I think kind of very early on Jerry and I, we kind of made it a point of focus that we weren't going to focus on the spring marathon.¬† We were going to really take the time to‑‑ Meb here is a very veteran marathoner, Jason and Geoffrey‑‑ and like really pushing the volume limit, learning how to get comfortable, just‑‑ I'd done it throughout training, but it's just a different type of‑‑ you lose the intensity component that I always had in track.
It's really learning about how to build and get comfortable and get the body through training in that depleted mode, which was something very different than what I've been used to.  I think now it's going to be a similar track to what I was on last year.  Still kind of learning the whole path on the road, how to get comfortable, how to run your own race still being in a pack of athletes.
Come into‑‑ there's two races going on this weekend.¬† There's the Jacksonville 15K, and there's the New York Half.¬† Jacksonville 15K will be a lot of U.S. athletes.¬† Here it's more of an international field, something that New York Road Runners always sets up an incredibly competitive field.
I really wanted to come into this event and pretty much kind of throughout this year, really challenging myself and kind of seeing how fast I can run at certain distances instead of the races always being about U.S. championships, which turn tactical.  It's really about the win.
They're important, but looking long term with kind of the Rio trials February 16th, this year I need to kind of take the time and really push those limits and see‑‑ just get myself more and more comfortable with longer distances.

Q.  The fact that there's no World Championships in track this year, does that work well?  Are you going to focus on the roads pretty much?
MATT TEGENKAMP:¬† My focus is the road now.¬† Track and field, it just‑‑ it stopped coming natural. ¬†For the longest time for me, track‑‑ the 5,000, like it was my passion, and it's just something that I stepped out there, didn't matter what time of year it was.¬† Like I was just very comfortable on the track.
There was a point in time where I just noticed that, no matter how fit I felt, I was always fighting for steps on the track.¬† On the road, it was a little scary switching over.¬† I thought that you always hear about the crazy train that goes on for the marathon distance.¬† It was‑‑ suddenly, I thought I'd become a little bit more injury prone doing it.
But losing the intensity side of track and field and really just doing volume and aerobic type threshold training, it's really helped me stay healthier and have my legs underneath me a lot more, which is kind of surprising.
But something that I think has kind of lit a fire underneath me and get me excited to really push and see how I can tackle these new challenges.

Q.  So Mo Farah isn't here.  So we can tell secrets about your race plan.  You've got to get rid of this guy, right?  He's going to sit around and on any kind of slow pace and push the last 400 like he always does.  I don't think he necessarily could stay with you if the pace was real fast.  Is there a possibility of a course record here?  You could go under Geb's 59:25?
GEOFFREY MUTAI:  Actually, for me, when I'm doing in the race, I'm not thinking about that.  For me, it's my own 13 mile race, and I focus on it from the beginning.
When someone is cooperating in the race or when someone want to know his way or to test himself, he cannot follow anyone, but you must go on your own and push it.  For me, I cannot put in my mind.
When the race will start, that is the time when I start getting to know my body, and to know this is the race I start this year.  So this race, I am using to test myself.  So whatever I do, I'll try my best because I know my name in the New York Marathon, but this is my debut in the U.S.  I have not been running a half marathon in the U.S.  This time I want to see how I do.

Q.  Jason, these other guys have all been training this winter in a nice climate.  You've been out in Colorado.  Is the winter out there been challenging?
JASON HARTMANN:¬† Yeah.¬† I mean, I think it's been challenging everywhere.¬† The one big annoyance is the wind, like the wind can blow up to 40, 50‑mile‑per‑hour.¬† So you just kind of deal with it a little bit but do what you got to do.

Q.  Have you had to make any modifications in your training?  Between that or the snow or anything.
JASON HARTMANN:¬† Maybe just adjusting days and stuff like that.¬† Maybe pushing back based off the weather.¬† Generally speaking, I'm pretty‑‑ my footprints are pretty in the sand with my routine.¬† So I just try to make it work, whether it be waiting in the afternoon when the sun comes out and melts all the ice and stuff.¬† You just do what you got to do.

Q.  And who are you training with out there?
JASON HARTMANN:  I've done sessions with Brent Vaughn and Tyler McCandless and a couple other guys, Pat Rizzo.  The majority of my stuff I do alone.

Q.  Is anybody coaching you right now?
JASON HARTMANN:  Just myself.

Q.  Did you have a thought of retiring last year?  Looks like that's not happened.  Or the year before?
JASON HARTMANN:¬† Well, it's a common thought, but I think in more short‑term blocks than more long term.¬† I'm at the point now where I'm approaching 33, and when that day comes where I don't feel like I want to do it anymore and push my body.¬† If I'm not going to give it what it deserves, then I'll move into a different direction and put my focus into something else.
As you get older‑‑ and Meb can probably expound on this‑‑ it's hard to stay in the sport because there's always someone coming out of college that has a better opportunity.¬† So you just do what you got to do as you get older.

Q.  We hope you stay in and run New York.
JASON HARTMANN:  Thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297