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Armstrong's marathon: "The hardest race of my life"

After completing the New York City marathon in a whisker under three hours, seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong revealed that the 26.2 mile race was the hardest of his life.

Speaking at a news conference after the finish, Armstrong explained, "for the level of conditioning that I have now, without a doubt that was the hardest physical thing I've ever done."

"I can tell you, 20 years of pro sports, endurance sports, from triathlons to cycling, all of the Tours, even the worst days in the Tours, nothing was as hard as that and nothing left me feeling the way I feel now, in terms of just sheer fatigue and soreness," he admitted.

Due to regular commitments with his cancer foundation, Armstrong was only able to train for approximately 45 minutes each day and his longest run beforehand had been 16 miles - running experts would generally recommend doing at least one 20 mile training run prior to a marathon.

Armstrong's time of just under three hours (2'59'36), equates to a pace of 6'51 for each mile and placed him 869th in a field of 38,368 starters. Despite being paced by three running legends - Alberto Salazar, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Hicham el-Guerrouj - Armstrong fell just short of Laurent Jalabert's time of 2'55'39, set in the same event last year.

However, Salazar noted that Armstrong may not have lost much of his fitness since retiring from cycling, saying that "for him, cardiovascularly, it was very easy. He could talk much better than I could during the race."

Armstrong ran the marathon wearing a green shirt with '10/2' (the date of his cancer diagnosis) written across it, and with the help of 100 other runners, raised over $600,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

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