Meb Keflezighi

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Meb Keflezighi
Meb Keflezighi 2009 London Marathon-2.jpg
Meb Keflezighi at the 2009 London Marathon
Personal information
Born (1975-05-05) May 5, 1975 (age 38)
Asmara, Eritrea
Residence Mammoth Lakes, California
Height 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m)
Weight 127 pounds (58 kg)
Country USA
Event(s) Marathon, 10000 m
College team UCLA Bruins
Club New York Athletic Club
Coached by Bob Larsen
Achievements and titles
World finals 2001, 10000 m 23rd
2003, 10000 m, 16th
National finals NCAA cross-country
NCAA 10,000 m (outdoors)
NCAA 5,000 m (indoors)
NCAA 5,000 m (outdoors)
Olympic finals 2000 10000 m, 12th,
2004 Marathon Silver,
2012 Marathon, 4th
Personal best(s) Marathon: 2:09:08,
10000 m: 27:13.98

Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi (/ˈmɛb kəˈflɛzɡi/; Ge'ez: መብራህቶም ክፍልእዝጊ mebrāhtōm kifl'igzī; born May 5, 1975 in Asmara, Eritrea) is an American athlete, specializing in long distance running. He is a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist in the Marathon and finished in 4th place in the 2012 Summer Olympics.


Keflezighi and his family were refugees from Eritrea via Italy to the United States, when he was age 12.[1]

He began running while in an American junior high school (Roosevelt Middle School (San Diego, California)) in San Diego, going on to win both the 1600 meters and 3200 meters at the CIF California State Championships in 1994 for San Diego High School.[2][3] The distinction of Keflezighi's homegrown American running history differentiated him from other African-born elite athletes, such as Bernard Lagat, whose change of domicile and citizenship had been for largely competitive reasons.[4] Keflezighi became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1998, the same year in which he graduated from UCLA. While at UCLA Keflezighi received numerous All-American awards and other accolades.[1] He won four NCAA championships (outdoor and indoor) during the 1996-97 season, including the cross-country title, the 10,000 m outdoors and the 5000 m indoors and outdoors titles in track.[5]

Keflezighi is a three-time national champion in cross country running, having won the USA Cross Country Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2009.[6]

In the 2004 Summer Olympics, Keflezighi finished second in the men's marathon, winning a silver medal in a personal season's best time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 29 seconds. He finished 42 seconds ahead of Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima, who was leading the marathon, but was disrupted when he was pushed off the course by protester Cornelius Horan.[7] This was the first medal won by an American man in the Olympic marathon since Frank Shorter won the gold in the 1972 Summer Olympics and took the silver medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.[1][7]

His fastest times for some standard distances are 3:42.29 for 1500 m, set in 1998; 13:11.77 for 5000 m, set in 2000; 27:13.98 for 10,000 m, set in 2001 (an American record which stood until 2010);[8] and 2:09:08 for the marathon, set in 2012 at the USA Olympic Trials 2012 (Houston)

In 2007, Keflezighi suffered from dehydration and the following year, he broke his hip during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials in Central Park. He finished in eighth place and did not qualify for the team. During the race, his friend and training partner Ryan Shay died of a heart attack.[9]

He won the 2009 New York City Marathon, setting a personal best of 2:09:15. Keflezighi was the first American to win the marathon since 1982.[10]

On April 19, 2010 Keflezighi ran his third fastest time of 2:09:26 while finishing 5th in the 114th Boston Marathon, despite training at half his usual mileage with a knee injury. He ran with the leaders for much of the race, before slowing at the finish.[11] He ran the San Jose Half Marathon as part of his preparation towards a New York title defense and he comfortably won by a margin of three minutes, finishing in 1:01:45.[12] He would later go on to finish in sixth place (first US finisher) at the 2010 New York Marathon.

In 2010 Keflezighi ran a PR in the marathon of 2:09:13 in New York. Once again he was in sixth place and the first US finisher.

Keflezighi lives and trains in Mammoth Lakes, California, and is a member of the New York Athletic Club (Announced November 4, 2011) .

On Oct. 11, 2010, he released his autobiography, "Run To Overcome", which was published by Tyndale House Publishers. The book, co-authored with noted sports writer Dick Patrick, included recollections about major milestones in his life, such as his Olympic competitions and other running highlights, as well as his early years, leading up to the present day. He is also the driving force behind the MEB Foundation, the "MEB" standing for "Maintaining Excellent Balance," which principally promotes healthy living, and other positive lifestyle choices and motivation for school-age youth.

On January 14, 2012, Keflezighi won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trial in Houston with a time of 2:09:08, which was a new personal best by 5 seconds. He is the oldest winner of the Olympic Trials Marathon at age 36.[13]

On August 12, 2012, Keflezighi finished fourth in the 2012 Summer Olympics Marathon with a time of 2:11:06.


  1. ^ a b c "American Meb Keflezighi Wins NYC Marathon". Associated Press (CBS Retrieved 2009-11-01. [dead link]
  2. ^ "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Retrieved 2012-12-25. 
  3. ^ See youtube highlights
  4. ^ Layden, Tim (October 31, 2005). "I Am An American". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  5. ^ UCLA's Meb Keflezighi Wins New York City Marathon, Associated Press, via, November 1, 2009
  6. ^ Keflezighi, Brown take open titles at USA Cross Country Championships. USATF (2009-02-07). Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  7. ^ a b Clarey, Christopher (August 30, 2004). "SUMMER 2004 GAMES: MARATHON; A Spectator Disrupts The Marathon With a Shove". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  8. ^ SF Gate
  9. ^ Patrick, Dick (October 27, 2009). "Marathoner Keflezighi carries somber memories of New York". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  10. ^ Zinser, Lynn (November 1, 2009). "Keflezighi’s ‘U.S.A.’ Breaks the Tape". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  11. ^ USATF press release
  12. ^ Miyamae, Amana (2010-10-04). Keflezighi defends title at San Jose Half Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-10-04.
  13. ^;-Flanagan-win-U-S--Olympic-Team-Trials-.aspx

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