Sunday, November 1, 2009


Meb Keflezighi won the NYC marathon today and I just happen to catch it on TV. It was amazing! Meb is a U.S. citizen who grew up in California. He finished 2nd in the Athens Olympics and has finished 2nd and 3rd in NYC previously, so it should be no surprize that he finally pulled off the victory. Nevertheless, he is 37 years old and it is the first time an American has won the race since I graduated high school in 1982. So, it is a great day in U.S. running.

The amazing thing about it, in my opinion, is that 6 of the top 10 finishers were Americans. Ryan Hall, the great young prospect and Meb's training partner, finished 4th. This represents the great return of American distance running. We've all been waiting to see if this day would arrive, and here it is. You have to wonder what Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter are thinking right now.

It was exciting to watch it unfold. There was a pack of 11 runners at the mid-way point, and the commentators mentioned Ryan Hall, Meb and a couple other Americans were in the pack. They focused on the tall, blonde haired Hall because he had won the Olympic trials marathon. I took one look at thought he had no chance. He was too tall and did not look comfortable. Meb, on the other hand, was short and light like most great marathoners, and looked very relaxed in the back of the pack. I wondered how he would do and thought it was cool that he was wearing a USA singlet. I also noted that he had on a hat, arm warmers and gloves. The man was running comfortably all right.

One by one they all dropped off the pace until there was only 2. Meb and one of the great African runners. I watched for clues to see if he had it in him to go for the win. I watched intently, and then I got the clue. He dropped both his arms and shook them out with about 3 miles to go. You do not drop your arms and shake out when you are pushing and fatigued. You shake out when you want to loosen up a little. He still had his hat and arm warmers on him, and I knew he was getting ready to cut loose.

With 2 miles to go, Meb pushed and opened a 5 second gap. He made his move and the other guy could not respond. It was all he needed. He opened up a gap and ran in glory pointing at his USA singlet as he approached the finish line.

Meb is the man!

In his post race interview, he said he had imagined this day for a long time.

After the victory, I went out and ran a quick 6.5 miles to celebrate. I felt like stopping to tell everyone that I passed on the trail, but I figured they would think I was crazy.

So, if Meb can run a 2:08 marathon at age 37 with two young daughters at home and working through a year of treatment for stress fractures, what else is possible? Think about it.

There's a guy up in Mass. who started running at age 53 and has run something like 80 marathons and eight 100 milers. He's about 80 years old or so. Cool.

So, what else is possible?

Enjoy your week!


No comments: