Catching Up: Interview With Meb Keflezighi
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March has been quite the busy month so far. We have had the opportunity to catch up with some incredible runners and overall amazing people. From Polina Carlson to Jared Ward to Kara Goucher, these elite athletes not only embody what it means to be an incredible runner, but have inspiring traits which make them amazing role models and sources of inspiration as well. So as we are now officially in Spring, I thought we would just keep it going. Today I am excited to share with you some inspirational words from an incredible role model, runner and father, Meb Keflezghi!
If you have been following Meb’s career at all, you know he has had some amazing victories over the years. One of the most inspiring was his dominating win in the 2014 Boston Marathon, where he was the first American male to win since 1983. At 40 years old, Meb just qualified for his 4th Olympic Team (2000, 2004, 2012, 2016). His career has spanned over two decades, and he still shows no signs of slowing. He is a father of three daughters, and a devout Christian. His foundation, the Meb Foundation, focuses on youth health, education, and fitness. You can read much more about Meb and his foundation on his website. But you didn’t come here to listen to me. So, without delay, let’s do our best to catch up with Meb as he talks the Trials, Rio, family, and more!
Team USA’s performance at the Olympic Trials for both men and women was incredibly inspiring (and exciting to watch). What is your outlook for Team USA in Rio?
The LA Trials were a success at many levels for both men and women. As we focus on Rio, our chances of doing well are bright. Now the question is how can we prepare ourselves to compete with the best marathoners in the world and on the biggest stage.
What are your personal expectations for Rio, and what if any special training will you do in order to prepare?
Certainly these will be my last Olympics as a participant! I train for the distance 26.2 and then adjust for heat and humidity. The distance is always the same so I will rely on my experience and train the way I have trained for years.
As the veteran on the team, what role will you take in preparing the other members of the team?
I try to lead by example. For those that seek guidance, I am here and happy to help.
Let’s talk family for a moment. As a father of 3 daughters, what do you feel are the most important lessons to instill in our children?
I feel the important lessons are to work hard, to listen to your parents, teachers, and coaches, and not to quit.
You have had an incredible journey so far in life. How important has your faith been in carrying you through the ups and downs?
My faith has been very important. Like a shadow, it never leaves me through the good and the bad. My faith is a very special part of my success.
You provide inspiration and hope to so many across the world. Can you share a story of someone who has been an inspiration to you?
Yes, my parents sacrificed so much so that my brothers and sisters could have a better life. They are my constant inspiration. In terms of running, my inspiration is the great long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie.
As an accomplished runner, author, speaker and father, what would you say is the accomplishment you are most proud of to date?
The Boston Marathon victory is my proudest accomplishment because of the impact it had on my family and the running community. It encompassed my faith and athletic goals/achievements in one meaningful victory.
Your foundation, appropriately called The MEB Foundation, focuses on youth health, education and fitness. What inspired you to begin the foundation, and how can others help further the foundation’s cause?
People can help support the MEB Foundation through the Charity Running programs at the TCS New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon. My running was discovered in a Physical Education class. Not everyone can be an Olympian, NYC or Boston champion, but physical activities like running as part of a well-balanced life can enhance anyone’s life. The keys in running are the keys in life – hard work, perseverance, determination & commitment.
Finally, what advice can you provide to parents who are trying their best to balance work, life, and running?
The secret to balancing life and work is Running! Keep up a routine. Even an hour or half hour will help. Running with people develops camaraderie and accountability. As long as you keep committed to running, it will help you be productive in your family and work life. It works for me!