Some would say that he’s the best American marathon runner and Meb Keflezighi certainly has the record to back it.

Best known for his victory at the 2014 Boston Marathon, which made him the first American man to win the race in 31 years, Keflezighi also has the New York City Marathon and a 2004 Olympics silver medal to his name. In a touching finish at the 2015 Boston Marathon, Keflezighi grabbed the hand of fellow American runner Hilary Dionne to cross the finish line. Even though he ended the race a below-par 8th in the elite men’s event, Keflezighi found a way to make the finish more memorable.

 

   

His achievements have come despite battling injuries throughout his career. After he learned that he had a pelvic stress fracture in 2008, Keflezighi said weight bearing was so painful that at times he crawled rather than walked around his house. But his showing in the 2009 NY Marathon where he emerged victorious – the first American since 1982 – showed he was more than capable of overcoming injuries.

Keflezighi has said that running came as an accident in his life, after his parents moved from Italy to the US in 1987. A young Keflezighi was a good soccer player, but didn’t know running was even considered a sport. “It was an accident, it happened by accident,” Keflezighi is quoted as saying in an interview. “It was just seventh grade, a P.E. teacher said if you run hard, you can get an A or a B – if you don’t run, you get a D or an F.”

Keflezighi finished the mile in the time required to get an A. “My running was discovered. Who ever would have thought that would change my life?”


 

Here are some of his tips for preparing for a race day:

  •  “If I am visiting a new city, I will talk to the local runners to find out the best places to run or even have them show me a park or trail where I can train, even if it means I have to slow down a little bit.”
  •  “When I rise early in the morning, even if that means I have to get up at 5 am to run, I don’t have to stress out about fitting in a workout or doing my stretching routine later in the day.”
  •  “If you’re flying to a race, always carry on your racing shoes, uniform and anything else you need for race day. Losing them is not worth the stress of trying to replace those things a day or two before!”

Main Image: Meb at the 2014 Boston Marathon (USA TODAY Sports)

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