RRW: What They Said – The Year in Quotes

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2019 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (30-Dec) — Race Results Weekly reported on dozens of middle and long distance races this year from January to December.  Here is a sampling of what athletes and coaches told us both before and after their competitions. Please note that the quotes from the World Athletics Championships were collected by World Athletics flash interviewers; the rest were given directly to RRW –Ed.

Shelby Houlihan winning the 2019 USATF Cross Country Championships on February 2 in Tallahassee, Florida (photo by David Monti for Race Results Weekly)

“I’m not like a big planner. I don’t live in the future. I live in what I’m doing right now.” –Emily Sisson the day before she ran 1:07:30 at the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon just missing Molly Huddle’s USA record by five seconds. (January 19)

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“I remember looking at my Mom one morning in Germany together and telling her that I want to run for Germany, and I want to run for you. She was overtaken by emotion. And it’s a moment I will forever cherish for the rest of my life. I had no idea that it would mean so much to her.” –Sam Parsons explaining his decision to switch allegiance from USA to Germany. (January 31)

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into here. I kind of gave myself a little leeway ’cause it’s not really my event, at all: first time doing a 10-K and on the grass. If I bomb, that’s fine; I don’t really have any expectations. I did want to win, so to be able to come out here and do that is pretty cool.” –Shelby Houlihan after winning her first USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida (February 2)

“By yourself, you’re just racing your inner demon, so that’s kind of hard to do by yourself. Wish it went a few seconds faster. I don’t think it’s going to get the job done.” –Drew Hunter after winning the “slower” section of the two-mile at the USATF Indoor Championships. He ended up winning the overall title when athletes in the “fast” section failed to surpass his mark. (February 23)

“I’m super-shocked! At first, when I was taking a picture next to the timing I thought it was just another high school record. Then, when I looked back and it said ‘AR,’ and I also didn’t see the time, 1:23, so I was like, oh my gosh, that’s crazy. It literally brought me to tears.” –Teenager Athing Mu after winning the USATF indoor 600m title, beating all the pros, and setting a national indoor record of 1:23.57. (February 24)

“Hilly is an understatement. I definitely have a new respect for this marathon. I only ran eight miles. I can’t imagine doing four times that distance.” –Brogan Austin after winning the Road to Gold 8.2-mile road race in Atlanta which used sections of the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon course. (March 2)

“If there was anyone who really wanted this gold medal it was me. I really lost to my colleague Geoffrey Kamworor in Kampala (in 2017), and if there was anybody who really wanted this gold medal it was me. I think I have lived to expectations.” –Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda after winning the World Athletics Cross Country title in Aarhus, Denmark. (March 30)

“My wife, Kalin, has been like the rock for me over the years. It’s so emotional. The emotions that go into training. It’s not just race day, it’s every day. It’s a lifestyle. You live and die by the workout you did that day. You come home and your mood is dictated by how our workouts went, if it went wrong or if it went great.” –Dathan Ritzenhein speaking before the Boston Marathon and describing how the support of his wife and family has been so important to his success as an athlete. (April 12).

“I’ve never been to Boston before and I’ve been having a blast. Seeing the crowd I said, I really want to win this race. Coming down the last 50 I was in perfect position. It was awesome.” –Nikki Hiltz after winning the B.A.A. Invitational Mile in Boston. (April 13).

“When I was leading I was thinking holy beep, I’m leading the beeping Boston Marathon. I just tried to soak in the moment of actually being at the front of the pack.” –Scott Fauble describing what it was like to be leading the Boston Marathon at the top of Heart Break Hill.  He finished seventh in a personal best 2:09:09. (April 15).

“I was hoping it would feel easier.  The last lap I had to do 68 or something and I said, ‘can I do this?’ I was like, ‘why even ask myself? Just fucking do it.'” –Dutchwoman Susan Krumins after making her 2020 Olympic 10,000m qualifying mark of 31:23.81 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. (May 2)

“I can’t miss out on this opportunity. So, every 5-K I’ve run up to this point was super conservative, so I wanted to do the opposite, go out aggressive. If I blow up, I blow up. It was really great that they (Emma Coburn) paced it so smooth and so even, exactly what they said. I figured I could kick off of that and try to get the Olympic standard.” –Rachel Schneider after running a 2020 Olympic Games 5000m qualifying mark of 15:06.71 at the USATF Distance Classic in Eagle Rock, Calif. (May 17)

“This one means a lot, because truly the best 10-K runners in the nation were here. Any time you get a field like that it’s such an honor to be able to come out on top. American women’s distance running is the best it’s ever been right now, so I’m going to savor this.” –Sara Hall after winning the USA 10-K road running title at the NYRR New York Mini 10-K and $20,000 in prize money. (June 8)

“The race was good. Being able to win, being able to run the fastest time on American soil, I think it was fantastic. I think other people’s perceptions of me are their own problem, not my problem.” –South Africa’s Caster Semenya after winning the Prefontaine Classic 800m in 1:55.70, her last race of 2019 in Palo Alto, Calif. (June 30)

“I was working 40 hours a week at the time. That was paying the bills but not the kind of a lifestyle that I wanted to live. So, racing helped me make money and the more races you could string together in a trip, the travel was covered so I didn’t have to worry about that.” –Erik Sowinski speaking about how his pro career got off to a slow start in 2012 before he became the most prolific 800m runner in USA history, running 180 races in 72 cities in 21 countries and territories. (July 24)

“That’s pretty special. Track titles are hard, so those are really special. I definitely don’t take anything for granted at this point in my career.” –Molly Huddle after winning her fifth consecutive USATF 10,000m title, in Des Moines, Iowa, the only woman in history to accomplish that feat. (July 25)

“I’m going to start crying because this is 13 years in a row of me being top-3 at USA Championships. I don’t know how to look back on that and wrap my mind around it. What I can say is that making the team this year is so fortunate as much as any other year. It’s so special every time you make it and I’ve been so lucky.” –Jenny Simpson after finishing second at the USATF Outdoor Championships in the 1500m in Des Moines, Iowa, and making her ninth straight USATF team for a global championships since 2007. (July 27)

“I watched every single one of his race videos to try to beat him. Especially this week, I watched the ones where he lost.” –Craig Engels describing how he used YouTube videos to help him beat Matthew Centrowitz and win his first ever USATF 1500m title in Des Moines, Iowa. (July 28)

“It felt good to be back out there and be in it, and remembering how to move and remembering how to race. I’m really excited now, I’m just really happy.” –Amanda Eccleston after winning the Hoka Long Island Mile after battling injuries for two years. (September 4)

“It’s been a challenging season for me and it was hard to stay motivated. There were several times this year where I was like, is it really worth the sacrificing anymore? But today actually says that it is and it’s going to give me another lease on life for Tokyo, 11 months from now.” –New Zealand’s Nick Willis after winning his fifth New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile. (September 8)

“I’ve said all season that my goal was to get the gold here and to break this record, and that’s what I did. It means the world to me. To be world champion at 22 years old, I can’t believe it.” –Donavan Brazier after winning the World Athletics 800m title and breaking Johnny Gray’s 34 year-old USA 800m record, clocking 1:42.34. (October 1)

“This is amazing for me. This is such an honor. I’m showing what you can do with hard work. It was amazing when I crossed the line and I saw that time. I was so happy.” –Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan after completing her historic 10,000m/1500m gold medal double at the World Athletics Championships. (October 5)

“I want to break 2:11 for myself. I’ve done the work to do that.” –Parker Stinson two days before he ran a personal best 2:10:53 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. (October 11)

“In my mind I never hold myself to limits.” –Trevor Hofbauer after becoming the second fastest Canadian marathoner of all-time (2:09:51), dropping his personal best by seven minutes, and qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. (October 20)

“I am the best version of myself when I’m running. “When I’m not running I don’t know what to do with myself.” –Aliphine Tuliamuk talking about her battle with injuries last summer just three days before running 2:28:12 at the TCS New York City Marathon, good for 12th place. (October 31)

“You learn lessons in every race, so I can’t complain. I realized that if I don’t make this move now and give myself a chance to be in this race then I’m going be mad at myself and left with more in the tank than I would have liked at the end.” –Aaron Templeton after coming from behind to finish second at the USATF 5-K Championships at the Abbott Dash to the Finish in New York and earning the biggest payday of his professional career: $8000 (November 2)

“I was comfortable. I prepared very well to run this marathon. Throughout the last few meters, the pace was somewhat high, and it wasn’t a problem for me. That’s when I decided to pull away.” –Geoffrey Kamworor after winning his second TCS New York City Marathon by splitting 14:14 between 35 and 40 kilometers. (November 3)

“Oh my God! It’s unbelievable. They just didn’t lose their poise. They stayed with it all the way up the home stretch. They took care of business.” –University of Arkansas coach Lance Harter after his team won their third national collegiate team title of 2019 at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute. (November 23)

“My main focus was just thinking about the clock. I wasn’t worried about anybody else.” –Edward Cheserek after winning his third consecutive Kalakaua Merrie Mile in Honolulu and running the fastest mile ever in the state of Hawaii: 3:53.3 (December 7)

“That was the dream, right? I knew I was cutting it tight but you can’t rush your body. With two leg breaks I learned my lesson rushing it. My body finally turned a corner six weeks ago, and I had a lot of faith.” –Renee Metivier after finishing third at the Honolulu Marathon in 2:43:18 and qualifying for the 2020 USA Olympic Trials Marathon (December 8)