October 29, 2015
CHRIS WEILLER: Ready to get started here for our team for kids press conference. Very excited to have some esteemed guests with us. Tatyana McFadden‑‑ we'll meet all these folks through the process of today's press conference. Tatyana McFadden, our two‑time defending champion in the Wheelchair Division. She is a 2015 NYRR Team For Kids ambassador. As is Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 New York City Marathon winner, 2015 NYRR Team for Kids ambassador. You'll hear all about Team for Kids in just a few minutes.
We'll hear from Michael Capiraso, our CEO of New York Road Runners. Peter Ciaccia, our Race Director of the TCS New York City Marathon, and President of Events at New York Road Runners, Michael Rodgers. You will also get a chance to meet Drew Swiss, our top fundraiser for the NYRR Team for Kids Program, as well as Bill Rudin, the lifelong champion of the event, and supporter of New York Road Runners.
With that, I'd like to get things started and bring up to the stage, Michael Rodgers, our VP of Development and Philanthropy.
MICHAEL RODGERS: Thank you, Chris. Good afternoon, everyone. We're excited to be here and share a little bit more about Team for Kids as well as welcome our Team for Kids ambassadors and our Civilian Lead Ambassador, Drew Swiss.
Before we get started talking about Team for Kids, we have a short video we want to show you that tells you about the program that Team for Kids raises money for.
MICHAEL RODGERS: Thank you. So these are the programs that we're raising money for with Team for Kids. Last year's marathon and the TCS New York City Marathon 2014, we had 1,700 runners running as part of Team for Kids who raised over $5 million. We're well on our way to surpassing that this year. So we're really excited about that. This $5 million is part of our official charity program with the TCS New York City Marathon.
Last year we had about 300 different charities raise $34.5 million, and while we have lots of different causes out there, we here at New York Road Runners are obviously very passionate about youth running and getting kids involved. That's why we have our Team for Kids program.
To tell you a little bit more about our youth programs and what we do throughout the year, I'm going to invite Michael Capiraso, our president and CEO.
MICHAEL CAPIRASO: Thanks, Michael. So I'm a Team for Kids member as well too. I figured I'd wear the jersey.
At New York Road Runners, we are eternally grateful for the support we receive from thousands of runners across the country who participate in races and events on behalf of NYRR's Team for Kids. Our mission at New York Road Runners is to help and inspire people through running. Our Team for Kids has given the opportunity to provide free running programs to over 200,000 kids across the country, including 120,000 kids within New York City and the five boroughs, and our goal is to continually grow that number. You'll see we have some of our folks here who run the Mighty Miler Program. Wave, everyone.
We're also here today to honor two teachers, Christine Wong and Matthew Sutherland, from P.S. 1 in Manhattan, who are both running the TCS New York City Marathon this year as part of our rewards initiative.
So we started a program last year in order for the teachers to get rewards for helping to administer the Mighty Milers and Young Runners programs in the schools, and these two teachers were 2 of the 100 teachers this year running the marathon as a result of it.
We're also joined, as I mentioned, by P.S. 1 here, who is the team here to support their teachers.
We want to get all kids running and moving at any age and any ability. I started fund‑raising for Team for Kids about six years ago, and each year I go out with a group who runs for Team for Kids, and we do our practice runs, and we have some of the kids come visit as well. It's a terrific opportunity to really call attention to what is most important to us at the New York Road Runners, which is getting kids running for the future.
Each year we also honor two individuals who have gone the extra mile to raise funds for Team for Kids. We honor these individuals with the Jack and Lewis Rudin Award to recognize them for their generous contributions. One of our top fund‑raisers, Dawn Arnall, is not able to join us today. But I'd especially like to welcome Drew Swiss, who will be presented with this award in a moment.
Drew is an incredibly dedicated and passionate supporter of Team for Kids, who is raising money for the program for the ninth year. This year, Drew outdid himself. Through his incredible fund‑raising efforts, he's raised $100,000 this year. Over his lifetime, Drew has raised over $500,000 for Team for Kids. Amazing. Thank you, Drew. We really appreciate it.
Here to present the Jack and Lewis Rudin award is Bill Rudin.
BILL RUDIN: Slight correction. It's $103,000 that Drew did. I think we decided to change the award name from the Jack and Lewis Rudin Award to the Drew Swiss Award because this is his ninth year, I believe, of being the winner.
On behalf of my family, we are so honored to give this award to Drew and to Miss Arnall, who couldn't be here. And we're thrilled, in addition to the Sam Rudin Trophy, that I believe my granddaughter will be a participant in giving out the award for the first time. She's 3 years old. So maybe next year she'll be part of the Team for Kids running program.
A few years ago, the Road Runners asked us if we would support in honor of Jack and Lewis, The Team for Kids. It's been a thrill and an honor to be supporting a great program for the Road Runners and the city and really getting kids involved in an incredible sport.
Drew, come on up and get your Drew Swiss Award.
MICHAEL CAPIRASO: Now the president and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon, Peter Ciaccia.
PETER CIACCIA: Thank you, Michael. Hello, everybody, again. Thanks, Bill, for supporting us at this most important initiative that we have here. And, Drew, unbelievable. You just keep going and going, and you're running too. That's unreal.
So I wish, when I was growing up, I had a program like this. This is so inspiring, and actually we really believe strongly in what we're doing with the kids and the youth in the communities here around the city. I just want to tip my hat to our VP of Development, Michael Rodgers. He lives and breathes Team for Kids, and you can just tell how inspired he is and his excitement carries through the whole organization. So we really thank you, Drew and Michael.
So I'm honored to actually be able to introduce two world class athletes. There's an inspiring scene that's going to happen out here on Sunday right inside Central Park at the TCS New York City Marathon finish line. We have our world class athletes coming in, but we also have 50,000 of our guests coming over to cross that finish line. This means so much to us here and at New York Road Runners to be able to tell this great story we're doing as well to the city and to the world on our broadcast.
To win this race is life‑changing for these champions. To run this race is life‑changing for the 50,000 others, and we truly believe that. There's nearly 1,700 Team for Kids runners this weekend that will lace up their sneakers and get on that journey from Staten Island to the finish line. It's a very, very special group of folks because they run to actually give others a chance to do the same. But there's only two New York Road Runner Team for Kids who are actually our ambassadors that have a realistic chance of crossing that finish line first. Everybody else is a winner and a champion. They may come in second or behind, but they're not going to come through first.
What we want to do here is take a look at our champions over the years.
PETER CIACCIA: Some good air guitar there, right? So that's a no brainer to ask Tatyana McFadden to support our New York Road Runner Team for Kids. As a TFK ambassador. This athlete has won almost every major marathon she's competed in the last two years, and she's already qualified for the Team USA in Rio in 2016.
In sports, she's known as "The Beast", but she's also one of the most gracious, friendly, caring people you'd ever meet. Throughout her successes, which included an unprecedented 11 straight major wins, Tatyana is always looking at what she can do for others. She's a champion in the true sense, leveraging her success as an inspiration for others to believe anything is possible. Tatyana's a role model for everyone.
We're so excited here at New York Road Runners to have Tatyana's support, who is going to help us pilot training programs for young wheelchair racers, similar to what we're doing with the Mighty Milers. We're very excited about that. We're just kicking that off, and we're thrilled that she is one of our New York Road Runner Team for Kids ambassadors.
Please welcome New York Road Runners Team for Kids ambassador, Tatyana McFadden.
TATYANA MCFADDEN: Wow, thank you so much for the wonderful introduction. I am so excited and honored to be back. I'm really, really excited to be an ambassador for Team for Kids.
As I look back at my journey, I pinch myself every time just thinking, oh, what a journey I've been through in life, growing up in an orphanage for the first six years of my life. Living life with a disability. But when I got involved with sports, that absolutely changed my life. I was very sick when I came into the United States, and sports was one way that it brought independence, and it brought health, and it brought me to have dreams, and it brought me to say, you know what, I want to be a Paralympian. I want to be a marathon champ. And without those that would not have been possible if I did not get myself involved in running.
That's why I'm so excited to be partnered up with Team for Kids and to help people with disabilities get involved. This year we have six kids who are getting involved in wheelchair racing, and I'm so excited to see what their future brings. What running brings is togetherness and that everyone can be involved and everyone can run in all shapes, sizes, and forms.
So thank you so much.
PETER CIACCIA: Meb made his marathon debut in New York 13 years ago, and stories have it as, when he crossed the finish line, he uttered the words, "I'm never doing that again." But he did. Again and again and again and again.
This Sunday Meb will line up out in Staten Island on the Verrazano Bridge for the tenth time as he runs with the world's best athletes at the TCS New York City Marathon.
In 2009, he became the first American in 27 years to win in New York. I was at that finish line that day, and I can't tell you how the hair on the back of my neck was going up as Meb was coming up pointing to his chest. The roar of the crowd was just unbelievable. It's a moment here in New York that we'll never forget. Then in 2014 he became the first American man in 31 years to win Boston, again, being able to be at that finish line and see that was incredible.
He's the only American in history to win New York, Boston, and an Olympic medal, which he captured in 2004 at the Athens games. As a father of three, Meb feels passionately about children's fitness. We're thrilled to have him back representing New York Road Runners Team for Kids.
Please welcome New York Road Runners Team for Kids ambassador, Meb Keflezighi.
MEB KEFLEZIGHI: Thank you to TCS, New York Road Runners, and to Team for Kids for giving me the privilege to be an ambassador. We all start somewhere. For me, it started with a one‑mile run in seventh grade. Who'd have ever thought I'd be a marathon runner? Most people think of me as a marathon runner, but I just ran to get a grade, to get an "A."
So lucky, if I broke 6:15 for the mile, I'll get a T‑shirt. I did that. Ran 5:20. The first time I ever ran, it got me the "A," and got me the T‑shirt.
Here 26 years ago I thought I'd give the marathon a shot. We all know the marathon is difficult. As Peter said, I would never want to do it again, because it's easier to do the 5K, 10K, but marathon teaches you character, discipline, and feel energy of youth. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to come back for the tenth time to TCS New York City Marathon, and to be an ambassador for Team for Kids, the New York Road Runners have been major contributors to my success. To be an Olympic medalist, to win New York, to win Boston, it's a major feat. Without their support and the U.S. distance running, I wouldn't be here.
On Sunday, it's going to hurt. It won't be my last one, I told you ahead of time, because I've got to get ready for the Olympic trials and hopefully try to make my fourth Olympic team, but it's where we finish and how we finish and get to that finish line among the 50,000 other people that have different reasons, whether it is for a cause, or for charity reason, to be able to build testing or help save someone's life or give opportunities like with Team for Kids.
As Peter said, I wish there was something like this when I was a kid. I was here earlier in September. We ran with ambassadors for Team for Kids. That was fun. When you're hurting or you're having trouble or you're looking for motivation, think about those kids and start to help them be the best they can. We have 50,000 participants on Sunday, but it starts with the foundation with the school, at home, just like my three daughters, and beyond.
I started with a one‑mile run, tenth time in New York, I have run over 100,000 miles, but we should challenge those kids to run 1,000 miles maybe by high school. If we do that, I guarantee you, they'll want to do it for the rest of their lives. That's what this sport does. I feel blessed to be here. I am excited for Sunday, my tenth one. It should be fun. It should be a lot of work, but I feel ready. We'll see what happens.
That's what racing is. I always say "run to win". It doesn't mean get in first place all the time. If you have that privilege and honor like I did in 2009 or in Boston, you go for it. If not, you finish the highest possible to the best that you can because you have the body to be able to do that. You know what, you'll never regret how you finish, and you'll always come back stronger.
Thank you so much.
MICHAEL RODGERS: Thanks, Meb and Tatyana.
Right now we'll ask our friends from P.S. 1 down in Chinatown to come up on stage.
So the group that's coming up is part of our Mighty Milers Program, and they are from P.S. 1 down in Chinatown. They're in fifth grade. We're going to ask Michael Capiraso to come up as well.
We've got two special kids who have got bibs for Meb and Tatyana.
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