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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Women's Press Conference-London Marathon Race Week

This morning we had to be at The Tower hotel by 10:30 for the press conference that was to start at 11:30am but we had not met our sound technician yet so we met him at our hotel for breakfast at 8:30am. We discussed how the day would go and then he and Jon worked on getting their equipment all set. We took a taxi to The Tower because we had a lot of equipment to carry and we did not want to be late. We planned on filming Catherine once she arrived at the hotel. Anthony and Jane I thought were due to arrive on Friday (because Anthony had a final exam for one of his classes on Thursday). We got to the hotel and set up our camera and sound equipment and I went off to find Lisa, Mostafa and Catherine. I went up to the Athletes’ Lounge and walk in looking for them. All of a sudden I see Anthony at the coffee station and I had to take a double-take! I was shocked to see him and then I saw Jane already sitting at a table having breakfast. Evidently, Anthony’s flight was already scheduled for Wednesday by the Flora London Marathon and it couldn’t be changed so he arrived yesterday. I “met” Jane and I say that because I had not seen her since she was a little girl with bows in her braids and here she was a beautiful young lady! She was very shy at first because not only did she not remember me from all those years ago but I was the one who was there to film her mother AND HER! She does NOT like the camera; not even a little! I had a feeling I was going to be in for a very rough time but was determined to win her trust. I did not want to start off on the wrong foot so just introduced myself and let her know that we would not push her. The Athletes’ Lounge was a virtual who’s who in the marathon world. After socializing for a bit it was time to get down to the press conference. There were two separate rounds of women on the podium for reporters to question and the first group included last year’s London Marathon winner Irina Mikitenko, Olympic bronze medalist Chunxiu Zhou, Olympic gold medalist Constantina Dita and Catherine. After the press conference the athletes broke away into different corners of the room and journalists were allowed to interview them. I wanted to interview Irina and Zhou but unfortunately I was unable to get to Irina because I was waiting for Zhou. Each reporter was supposed to have five minutes but there were two in front of me that went on for almost 20 minutes so I finally had to excuse myself to get in! She had a translator with her so I had to ask the question and wait for her to understand it and then have the answer translated. She was extremely confident that when she is in her best shape that no one can beat her. I was surprised at how assured she was and figure that most top athletes need to have that sense of self confidence. I was not trying to get an interview with Constantina at that time because I had already arranged a private interview through her manager.

After the press conference there was a photo op for all the journalists outside of the hotel by the river. It was a beautiful location and I was also able to catch a quick interview with Gete Wami, the Ethiopian runner who was the female winner of the first World Marathon Majors, a competition comprised of 6 major marathon events in which the athletes accumulate points over the course of two years. The man and woman with the most points at the end of the participating events win $500,000!

After the photo op we had lunch and I was able to chat with Jane a little bit and then we arranged our interview with Constantina Dita. We sat down over coffee and had a nice interview; she is so nice and it was interesting to hear her talk about balancing her life as an international athlete as well as a mother. I can certainly sympathize with all of the women who have to leave their children behind in order to pursue their careers! I have been having a lot of mixed emotions about being away at this time of year because so much will happen over the next month with my own kids (Rob’s 18th birthday, Eric’s 21st birthday, senior class trip, senior prom, etc, etc, etc) Anyway, it was a good interview and was late in the day so time to head on back to the hotel. Jon wanted to go to the race expo so I headed back with our sound tech, IP. When we got back to the hotel we downloaded his audio files and then I had dinner with Lisa, Mostafa, Catherine, Anthony and Jane at a nice little Italian restaurant near the hotel. I still had work to do to plan the next day so I finished working after I got back to the hotel.

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