Wednesday, November 3, 2010

News conference recap: Meb


Defending men’s champion Meb Keflezighi is ready to compete against the best of the best Sunday in the 41st annual ING New York City Marathon. In a press conference Tuesday, Keflezighi told a crowd of media from around the world he is fit, feeling strong and excited to join a small group of marathoners who’ve successfully defended their New York titles.

“As always, it's a stacked field, and that's how New York is,” he said. “New York brings the best in the world, and I'm looking forward to it.”
In 2009, Keflezighi became the first American in 27 years to win in New York.

During the first elite athlete press conference of the week, New York Road Runners President and CEO Mary Wittenburg commented on Keflezighi’s 2009 2:09:15 win, saying last year’s victory was historic and satisfying to the people of New York. “When you crossed that line, it was not only an historic moment in American running, it was not only an historic moment in history of this great race, but it was a moment that all of us here at Road Runners will forever treasure and feel a part of.”

The 2004 Olympic silver medalist, who will wear bib number one in his sixth return to New York in Sunday’s race, was fifth at Boston this year and took first in the Rock ‘N Roll San Jose Half Marathon in October. Regarded by many as the top American distance runner, Keflezighi is a favorite to break the tape on Sunday. Keflezighi said he has prepared for this race with his coach, doing intervals, training at different distances and planning to pay particular attention to his pace on First Avenue.

When asked about his competitor Haile Gebrselassie’s chances in his debut in New York, Keflezighi said, “Well, Haile is Haile. If he comes up like he did in good shape or if he ran behind, we have to beat him. But this is New York, and you compete against the best. He's been the best for a long time…But there are plenty of others to worry about. I can't just pick that one guy. I've experienced that. Do not count anybody out.” Gebrselassie has a personal best of 2:03:59 from the 2008 real,- Berlin Marathon, when he broke the world marathon record a second time. Kefzighi said the two started running together in London in 2007 and Gebrselassie has been a role model to him.

NYRR will present the co-author of Keflezighi’s book Run to Overcome with its first George Hirsch Journalism award Friday. Award winner Dick Patrick, who is considered among one of the most “read voices” in the sport of running, has had a column in USA Today since 1986 and has also been a columnist for American Track & Field since 2004.