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Posted: February 6, 2009  :

Athletics: Willis and Flanagan ready for Boston

BOSTON - Event organizers on Thursday hosted a press conference in advance of the 2009 Reebok Boston Indoor Games, which will be run Saturday evening at the Reggie Lewis Center. On hand for Thursday's press conference were Olympic 1,500m bronze medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand and Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist and American record holder Shalane Flanagan.

Below are excerpts from Thursday's press conference.

NICK WILLIS: "I thought I came away very encouraged (from Millrose) for two reasons. It showed that my fitness is coming together in a lot of base- training type stuff and then I came through with the speed. Because I was disappointed I didn't win, it was actually something that made me happy. There's some irony in that statement. Because I didn't win I was happy that I was angry about it. It's the first time I really stepped into this kind of professional world and walked away not winning and feeling really frustrated about that. So that shows a good state of mind and tells you you're competing against the very best in the world.

I hope to win every race that I possibly can so when I don't win it'll give me a greater hunger for the future. That's what the goal is for this weekend, to come away with the impervious victory that happens in the professional world. They don't come every week. I'll be racing this weekend with that in mind as my first and foremost goal. I think Laban Rotich's stadium record is 3:53.18 I think, so that's definitely in the cards as well. That's something else I'll be running at as well.

Millrose is unique as they give you the spotlight as they call your name as you come around the track. But here they bring each of us out and you get to run down that straightaway in front of that crowd and it seems to erupt. It just gets you pumped up just before the start of the race. You try to relax and hold back the pace of the race, but you just can't help yourself because of the sound of the crowd. I'm definitely waiting for that the last couple of laps. I'll always remember when Alistair Cragg took down Kenese Bekele and the place just went crazy. I'd love for that to happen. There's a little bit of a rivalry going on between a guy named Alan Webb and myself. Not directly, but because of our affiliation with our university and stuff. Hopefully that will really get the crowd going.

SHALANE FLANAGAN: I think I'm addicted to running here at home. I think there's nothing more special than running in front of your family and friends and people who really genuinely care about you and your performances, so I'm really looking forward to Saturday night. I've had some good preparation down in Mexico training. I haven't done much speed, but I feel like I'm extremely strong. I hope that strength will carry over into some fast times.

Re: Breaking the 5,000m indoor AR: I don't want to take anything for granted, but I would hope, that since last summer we've done a lot of basically 15:10 back to back, that sneaking under 15:07 should be feasible. But like I said, I've only been on the track maybe two times for workouts. Both were good indicators that I would run sub 15:07 but I still have to go out and perform, there has to be some good pace making and some good competition. Overall, I just would like to come out and perform for my family.

The 14th-annual Reebok Boston Indoor Games begins at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College, 1350 Tremont St. Information is now available on-line at www.BostonIndoorGames.com, and tickets are available on-line or by calling 1-877-TIX-TRAC. USATF welcomes you to pay with your VISA.

For more information on the 2009 Reebok Boston Indoor Games and the Indoor Visa Championship Series, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com.

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org


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