Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile Press Conference Quotes And Photos

Competitor New York’s Sarah Wassner Flynn was at the 2009 Continental Fifth Avenue Mile press conference and caught some quotes from a few of the fastest runners set to race on Saturday.

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American Bernard Lagat. Photo: Laurel Wassner

Bernard Lagat (USA)
Age: 34
Mile Personal Best: 3:47.28 (Rome, 2001)
Fifth Avenue Mile History: Second, 2008

On getting outkicked by New Zealand’s Nick Willis in the 2008 race: “It all came down to kicking way too early. I went too soon. By the finishing stretch, I didn’t have anything left. So this year, I’m going

On the stacked field: “I look forward to running a good time and seeing what I can do against these guys. No question, it’ll be fast. The longer distance guys can surprise everybody. You have to watch out for them.”

On the potential to be the only runner to win both the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games and the Fifth Avenue Mile: “Saying that I’ve won both of these great races in New York City would be amazing. I’m really confident that if I run strong and smart, I will win.”

American Leo Manzano. Photo: Laurel Wassner

Leo Manzano (USA)
Age: 25
Mile Personal Best: 3:43.01 (London, 2009)
Fifth Avenue Mile History: Debut

On training with Shannon Rowbury under coach John Cook: “She’s almost like a sister to me. When one of us is down, we lift each other up and motivate each other. She’s very regimented, and I’m laid back, so we balance one another out. She’s definitely contributed to my success this season, and we’ve become great friends…she’s even going on vacation to Playa Del Carmen with me and my girlfriend and some other friends in a couple of weeks.”

On the challenges of turning pro: “There was a big adjustment period. I was used to a college schedule, with big build ups to the major races. Now, I have to be on top of my game for every meet. I’ve built a good foundation this year and am ready to go into the 2010 season with new confidence and reach a little farther with my goals.”

On his race plan for the Fifth Avenue Mile: “I’ve never raced a road mile, so it’s all new to me. I plan to be very cautious about when to kick. You can see the finish line from about 200 meters out, so I just plan to be careful to not go too soon.”

American Matt Tegenkamp. Photo: Laurel Wassner

Matt Tegankamp (USA)
Age: 27
Mile Personal Best: 3:56.38 (Madison, WI, 2006)
Fifth Avenue Mile History: Third in 2006

On the key to his successful 2009 season: “I definitely credit the move to Portland. It was a tough transition, because my wife and I owned a home in Madison [Wisconsin], and I as coming off a rough year. But once we settled in, I began training at a much higher level, with more consistency in a much more structured program. We had an instant support group in the runners, and I knew that we had made the shift for the right reasons.”

On training with the Oregon Track Club Elite team: “Alberto [Salazar] ensures that you live and train like a professional runner, and keeps us very focused. I’m a much more diligent runner now.”

On his hopes for the Fifth Avenue Mile: “The field is extremely competitive, but the shorter distance doesn’t scare me. At the same time, it’s a tricky race. I plan to bide my time and go at just the right time-not too soon, and not too late.”

British medalist Lisa Dobriskey. Photo: Laurel Wassner

Lisa Dobriskey (GBR)
Age: 25
Mile Personal Best: 4:20.35 (Reiti, 2008)
Fifth Avenue Mile History: First in 2008

On getting advice from fellow Brit Paula Radcliffe: “When she found out I had the same injury she had [sacrum stress fracture], she called me up and gave me some advice about training, nutrition and just to make sure I don’t push myself too hard. She took it upon herself to call me, and it was so nice of her to do that. She is just the most approachable and down-to-earth person. She is definitely my inspiration.”

On returning as the reigning champion: “Yes, there is a little pressure this year. I decided to race at the last minute in 2008, so I had no idea what to expect. This year, the field is strong and there are quite a few athletes who missed out on the world championships or may feel like they have more to prove this season, so I think the competition is as strong as ever. I’m definitely expecting a challenge from Shannon Rowbury and Christin Wurth-Thomas.”

On her off-season plans: “I want to just take it easy for three weeks and relax with my family. And I’m getting married [to fellow Fifth Avenue Mile competitor] Ricky Soos in December.”

Brit Andy Baddeley. Photo: Laurel Wassner

Andy Baddeley (GBR)
Age: 27
Mile Personal Best: 3:49.38 (Oslo, 2008)
Fifth Avenue Mile History: Debut

On running in New York City: “I’ve never done a road race here, but I was in the city to support my wife when she ran the ING New York City marathon last fall. I am excited to get out there and see what I can do among the mostly American field.”

Shannon Rowbury (USA)
Age: 24
Mile Personal Best: 4:20.34 (Reiti, 2008)
Fifth Avenue Mile History: Second in 2008

On racing on the roads: “I love track races, but there is something special about th energy and the feel of a road race. This race, especially, is fun, as the course undulates and is net downhill. It changes the dynamic a little.”

On returning to the states after training in Europe all summer: “I’m excited to come back and race in the states again, in front of a ‘home’ crowd, in the greatest American city.”

On her outlook for the race: “I’ll keep myself in contention, stay hungry and fight for the line. It’s great that Lisa is back this year. We had such a great race in 2008 [they finished with just one one-hundredth of a second separating them], and having someone so fast to compete against makes me hungrier.”

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