Something unusual happened when Meb Keflezighi, far ahead of his competitors, began passing some of the elite women who had started before the men on Monday in the Boston Marathon. As he charged by, many of the women — exhausted and in pain — cheered him on.
Three years ago, Keflezighi was widely considered to be on the downward slope of his marathon career. He had lost his Nike shoe sponsorship. His best running days were probably behind him.
Keflezighi managed to find a new shoe sponsor, but the company was not exactly a powerhouse in the running world. He was picked up by Skechers, a brand primarily known for skateboard shoes.
On Monday, Keflezighi, who turns 39 in two weeks, introduced the running world to Skechers as he and his red and silver sneakers stepped across the finish line of the Boston Marathon a good 11 seconds ahead of anyone else.
Keflezighi was the first American man to win the race in more than 30 years.
The story of Keflezighi, the oldest Boston Marathon winner since at least 1930, would have been resonant any year.
But his surprising victory was especially powerful this year, the first Boston Marathon since the 2013 bombing that killed three people, wounded hundreds and ravaged an exultant city tradition more than a century old.
“This is probably the most meaningful victory for an American because of what happened last year,” he said. “I’m almost 39. I just ran a personal best. I just won the Boston Marathon. I feel blessed.”
After 2 hours 8 minutes 37 seconds of hard running, Keflezighi stepped across the finish line at Boylston Street with his arms spread nearly as wide as the finish tape, nearly as wide as his smile. The record-setting crowd got a clear view of his bib which read, simply, “Meb.”
Source: The New York Times | PETER MAY