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ING New York City Marathon Press Conference Photos And Quotes

With the ING New York City Marathon just days away, six of the top Americans gathered in Central Park’s Tavern on the Green to discuss the race, which doubles as the USA Men’s Marathon Championship. Competitor’s Sarah Wassner Flynn was there to collect some of their quotes and some photos.

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Jorge Torres, Boulder, CO
On his marathon debut: “I’m going out there without any fear. It’s about being competitive. If I can get a good time, I’ll take it. But I won’t be going after any debut records. New York is not known for producing fast times, so to say I’d be going for something like that would be naïve.”

On losing his mentor Greg Fedyski in a car accident last year: “He always wanted me to run a marathon. So after I had a little down time following my wedding, I made the decision to move up. I’ll be carrying his spirit on race day as I always do. I know he’ll be smiling down on me—and laughing at me when I start to hurt!”

Jason Lehmkuhle, Minneapolis, MN
On the U.S Champs: “No one would tell you that we’re here to run for an American championship. We’re here to run 26.2 miles as fast as we can. But it would be pretty good to have us all up there, first through sixth.”

Ryan Hall, Big Bear Lake, CA

On the race course: “I feel like I run here because of the Trials [the 2008 Olympic Trials were held within Central Park]. I’ve seen the course on the lead vehicle last year, which was just awesome. I’ve gotten dizzy running loops around Central Park. So I know it’ll be a fun course. Being in New York is like a breath of fresh air—there is that familiarity once you get to the Park.”

Brian Sell, Rochester Hills, MI

On his race strategy: “I’d like to hit the half-way point at 1:07 and just try to pick it up from there. I’d like to negative split. I’ll run my own race and hit my marks. Even if it’s a tactical race, those guys will still be going fast. I’ll do what I have to so that I feel good coming into Central Park.”

On his plans for retirement to enroll in dental school: “I’ve applied to a few schools, and we’re just waiting to hear back at this point. I won’t say this is my final marathon, I’ll have to wait and see how I do. If I get a top-five finish, it’ll make me think twice about my decision to retire. And if I do, I’m looking forward to the days when I’ll just go out for a morning run so I can eat a big breakfast.”

Abdi Abdirahman, Tuscon, AZ
On his race plan: “In the past, I’ve always pushed the pace. If these guys make a move, I’ll go with them. I was leading all of the way last year until I got a side stitch at 14 miles. I’ve been working on my core [to prevent future stitches], and I’m not planning on that to happen again.”

Meb Keflezighi, San Diego, CA
On his string of recent setbacks: “In the 2006 New York City marathon, I had a bad case of food poisoning. I felt like that could have been my chance to win. But life moves on. Then, at the U.S. Olympic trials in 2007, I injured my hip [a stress reaction]. It eventually go so bad off, I couldn’t even walk. There was a point when I considered retirement, but I knew I wasn’t finished yet. Then, with the right rehab and a lot of faith and time in the pool, I was able to get past it. And I’m so glad I did, because now I’m setting PR’s.”

On his future goals: “I don’t even think about retirement now. I’m running so well and feeling so good. I’m looking at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships. I’m training smart and listening to my body. I’m the first one in the gym and the last one out. Whatever it takes to keep it up—and keep the young guys chasing me.”