Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi Wins Boston Marathon

American Meb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon yesterday.  Keflezighi was the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 and he did it with a 2:08:37 time, his personal best although he is a few weeks away from reaching his 39th birthday!

Talk in Boston and in the media as the race approached, centered on the extra security precautions that were being taken following last year's terrorist bombing.  Huge crowds of spectators came out to support the runners, Boston, and the United States. Many hoped an American would win the race this year as a tangible measure of resiliency and determination in the face of terrorism.  Keflezighi met the bill and then some.  

Meb Keflezighi is a veteran long distance runner and international competitor who was born May 5, 1975. He is a three-time US Cross Country Champion (2001, 2002, and 2009). The 12km race for men in the cross country championships serves to designate the national champion and the competitor who goes on to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Offered a scholarship to UCLA by legendary Coach Bob Larsen, Keflezighi competed for the Bruins and graduated in 1998.  While at UCLA, he won four NCAA titles including the indoor 5k, outdoor 5k, outdoor 10k, and the NCAA cross country championship. Larsen continued to coach Keflezighi after his college career and the two have worked together for 20 years.  Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon in 2009 and he won a silver medal in the marathon in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. 

Keflizighi's family came to the United States as refuges in 1987 from Eritrea, a small country in Africa that was locked into a long battle for independence.  After his college career in 1998, he became a naturalized US citizen. He created the  Meb Foundation to inspire others to lead healthy, active and balanced lives.  His book Run to Overcome tells his story of overcoming the odds.

When the world looks on to Meb Keflezighi as the man who won the Boston Marathon in 2014, they see more than an American, they see the face of America itself--a country that has bettered itself by welcoming (albeit often in imperfect ways) others across its borders to seek a new life. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of several excellent sports book, the most recent is Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships by Patrick McCaskey.  Pillars examines the football lives of the 10 top coaches in NFL history.  Patrick McCaskey is a Senior Director of the Chicago Bears who has worked for the club for 40 years.