How do you top winning a major marathon? Win four of them

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: Our next story is also about someone who was born in Russia but grew up in the United States. Tatiana McFadden made history this weekend. She won the New York City Marathon's wheelchair race. She also won the event earlier this year in Boston, London and Chicago, so her win in New York completed an unprecedented grand slam of the world's major marathons. Tatiana, congratulations. You've done what no one else ever has.

Tatiana McFadden: Thank you.

Werman: So was it a close finish, or were you out in front all the way?

McFadden: No, I was out up front all the way. I dropped the pack from the first hill, and the only female athlete who was able to catch me was Rikako from Japan. She caught me at the bottom of the downhill, and so she stayed with me until about mile four until I hit that climb hard. And then, for the rest of the way, I was by myself for the entire race.

Werman: I mean, you've really come a long way to win these four events: London, Boston, Chicago and then now New York. Has it settled in yet?

McFadden: A little bit. I mean, I've been running around doing things, but I think it's going to settle in later this week. You know, it's just been a phenomenal experience with the amount of support I've been getting from the community, the media. You know, I've put such hard work into this. I was so incredibly happy with the win because I just wanted to close out the season with that, and it's just been absolutely phenomenal.

Werman: I hinted earlier at your background, born in Russia but you grew up in the United States. You were adopted, and after you won the 2010 New York City Marathon, you flew to your former orphanage in Russia and gave the director your medal. What does that orphanage symbolize for you?

McFadden: It's about going back and just showing your appreciation because no one's gone back and told them what a success story I was, so, you know, that experience for me was fulfilling. I really need to go back because, you know, that's where my roots are. I was born there and lived there for six years, so it was really important for me to go back.

Werman: You're a busy woman. You're training also right now for Sochi the Russian Winter Olympics in cross country skiing. What is that homecoming going to be like?

McFadden: So I'm trying out for cross country skiing for Sochi so the events will be the sprint, the 5k and the 10k, so the qualifications are in December in Canada, and then we'll find out who makes the team for cross country skiing in January, and then the games will happen in March, so it's all happening pretty fast, but you know, like the training from the marathons will really carry over into the cross country skiing because you need the strength and endurance. So the training for the marathons and all my track events will really help for

Werman: And Tatiana, what does Russia mean to you?

McFadden: You know, it's just- it's where my roots are, and so, I mean, I'm never gonna forget where I was born and raised, but I live my life in America, so going back to Sochi, you know, it's about showing that, you know, people with disabilities, you know, can live a normal life and can be phenomenal elite athletes just like anybody else, and it's about showing in the public eye, you know, a living success story, and that's what it's really all about.

Werman: What's next? You going to take a couple of days off, or it's just straight back into training?

McFadden: Well, actually I'm headed back right now because I have exams all this week, so I'll probably take off this week and then start training towards the end of the week and gear up, yeah.

Werman: Tatiana McFadden, winner of the Women's Wheelchair Race in the New York City Marathon. Thank you very much.

McFadden: Thank you. Thank you so much.