Friday, February 6, 2009

In Maryland for USA Cross Country Championships...

Just wanted to let the readership know that I am in Derwood, Maryland for the USA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, in my role assisting USA Track & Field with media operations.

Here are some highlights of the press conference Friday featuring 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi; 2008 Olympian at 10000 meters Jorge Torres; 2008 World Cross Country Championships team members Edwardo Torres, Emily Brown, and Ed Moran; and local contender Samia Akbar.

Q: How are your preparations for Saturday’s national championship race progressing?

EMILY BROWN: I feel my preparation is going real well. I ran in three races overseas, including in Edinburgh, on a slightly shorter version of the course we ran at world championships last year. I feel that I am really prepared for whatever this course throws out there.

SAMIA AKBAR: I really have not run cross country much; however, I am excited about having an event that’s nearby. I’ve run this course a few times, but every time I run it, I find something new.

ED MORAN: I’m real excited to race close to home as well. I’m hoping to get a lot of support from friends and family. You usually don’t get much of an opportunity to race in the area that you train in. The course looks great, and this is the first measuring stick to see where I am this season.

MEB KEFLEZIGHI: Glad that I’m healthy this year. I was disappointed to miss last year’s nationals in my home town of San Diego. 2003 was the last time I ran in the national championships.

JORGE TORRES: Preparation has been going ok. I’m glad cross country season is finally here. I haven’t been focusing on this season, but it was a long season last year with the Olympics. I wanted to come out here to see what kind of fitness I’m in. It looks like the course is going to be fairly tough.

EDWARDO TORRES: I’m glad cross country is here, because I’m getting sick of running long runs for the marathon.

Q: Do you feel that you are through the injuries that you’ve had?

MK: It’s been a long process back. There were so many people who helped me get to the starting line in Houston (where he won the USA Half-Marathon Championship). I feel like I turned around my training ad got over the injuries when I was in Colorado Springs for two months at the Olympic Training Center. That’s where I was committed to getting healthy and getting fit.

Here's some more with Meb, courtesy of media partner

Q: Any preferences on the type of cross country course you like to run?

MK: Cross country is unique. This course is a true course. It’s very challenging.

JT: We like cross country courses that are challenging, muddy. I don’t like flat cross country courses, as that’s not cross country.

EB: I’m sticking with tradition. Last year in San Diego, I didn’t get in until late the night before the race, but that worked out well. It’s nice that people have told me that it’s hilly, and I can be prepared for that, as those are things you want to think about when you are out racing. I’m looking forward to a more challenging course. I think you’ll see some tight packs together.

SA: With any hilly course, you have to think about what you want to do. There’s a little bit more strategy than what you normally have to think of. You have to remember that it’s several loops.

EM: I feel that cross country takes a little more physical and mental discipline than track does, with the rolling hills and the transition. That’s why I like cross country; you can’t fall asleep the way that you can on the track.

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