Monday, April 28, 2014

Meb Wins Boston

Like a boss - courtesy of Google images
On perhaps the most emotional day of its 118th year history, mighty Meb Keflezighi rolls out the clutchest no-chance underdog win in decades, running to the title in 2:08:37. He started the day in Hopkinton as maybe the unlikeliest of American contenders with a chance of pulling off the upset, but came through with a super-hero effort as the first American to win in Boston since 1985.

Guy was such a minimal threat in a stacked field of sub-2:06 guys, that they let him go when he created separation at mile 10. That proved to be an enormous strategic error since Meb had with him an ace-in-the-hole that nobody could have suspected (perhaps even himself) - he had shown up prepared to solo a 2:08. And like a complete badass - the names of those who perished in last year's bombings actually hand-written on to his race bib - he did just that, breaking the tape on Boylston in disbelief of just about everyone that was watching.

Donning the laurel wreath - courtesy of Google images
Meb is now firmly vaulted into the pantheon as the only American marathoner with an Olympic medal and wins at both Boston and NYC. Shorter was double gold but won his majors in Fukuoka; Salazar and Rodgers won both majors but came up short in the Olympics; Joanie has Olympic gold and a Boston title but no victories in NYC; Deena Kastor has Olympic hardware and a NYC title but not Boston. Joanie and Salazar also have the accolades of world record holder.  

New Mexico finishers in this year's Boston Marathon can be found here

And because I'll likely never have as great an opportunity to tell this, here's a quick story I have about Meb and a New Mexican connection to his career: Old man Meb was in my graduating class so I've serendipitously followed his career since that time. A friend I ran with in junior high (Capshaw Falcons!) left with his family to California before we started high school, and he landed at Jesuit High in Sacramento which happened to be some running legacy juggernaut type of place. My man Matt Farley then went from being a talented runner, to a national class California state champ caliber of runner, and his in-state rival was San Diego's Meb Keflezighi. Farley got the better of Meb a few times and the two were the prohibitive favorites going into their first big matchup on the national level, Kinney XC Nationals. Matt had told me how the two of them were in agreement that the guy to key off was New Jersey's Bob Keino, son of Kip. The Davis brothers from Spokane were a threat as was the one dangerous unknown in Colorado's Adam Goucher. Farley came in as the California XC champ and defending state 3200m champ but had a rough day finishing 9th while Meb chased Goucher (Go Buffs!) across the line. Goucher, Meb, and 5th place Brad Hauser were future Olympians. New Mexico legend Brandon Leslie happened to also be in that race, finishing 6th as a junior. Farley went on to run for Stanford, his career soon ended by injury. Meb ran for UCLA, stacking-up multiple All American honors and titles, future Olympic podium/NYC Marathon champ/Boston Marathon champ/stone-cold rockstar. The end.

Related Posts: 
 - Olympic Marathon Recap - London '12
 - New York Marathon 2013

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