Tuesday, January 5, 2010

another Marathon Man

I'm a bit partial to Wesley Korir, but I can root for this guy too!

From Bari Weiss in the WSJ...

When Meb Keflezighi finished the New York City Marathon in two hours, nine minutes and 15 seconds the morning after Halloween, he became the first American to win the race in 27 years. But some spectators apparently missed the three red letters on his chest as he burst through the tape. Keflezighi is only "technically American," argued CNBC sports writer Darren Rovell. He's "like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league."

Though Mr. Rovell has since backtracked, nobody recalls similar comments about Alberto Salazar, the Cuban-born American who won in 1982. And if Meb's name was Joe Smith and he was born in England rather than Eritrea, few would have questioned his national identity....

"What's the list of things you need to be an American?" he asks rhetorically. "You live here, you pay taxes, you live by the American way. I've been here for 22 years. I'm as American as you can get."...

Born in 1975, Mebrahtom (his full name means "let there be light") grew up in an Eritrean village with no electricity and no running water. Besides poverty, Meb's parents, Russom and Awetash, feared for their family's safety because of Russom's involvement with the Eritrean Liberation Movement and because of the ongoing war with Ethiopia. Meb's father decided to flee....

On Oct. 21, 1987, a date that rolls off Meb's tongue, the family immigrated to San Diego as refugees with the help of the Red Cross and the sponsorship of Meb's half-sister, Ruth....

They stressed school to their 11 children....

Meb had never run in his native country and had no concept of running as a sport....Meb's two older brothers decided to take up the sport, he says, and "I just followed in their footsteps." At 12, he ran his first mile....

About himself, he says: "My God-given talent was discovering when I could run 5:20. Not everyone can run 5:20 . . . I was definitely gifted, but I have to work hard."...

Recovering from the injury took a year and a half of intensive therapy and "hard work." But "hard prayer" was also crucial for Meb, who, like his parents, is a deeply religious Christian. Though his training schedule doesn't always allow him to make it to church every Sunday, he makes time for prayer "every day before I go to sleep and every day before I get up." He also uses the 15 minutes he spends in the ice bath for reflection: "Every day in the ice bath is my God time," he says....

1 Comments:

At January 8, 2010 at 9:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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