AMERICAN MARATHONER Meb Keflezihi (center) capped an impressive comeback year by winning today's New York City Marathon. This makes him the first American to win the race since Alberto Salazar won in 1982.
What makes this win all the more special was a very disappointing 2008, which had many saying that the 2004 Olympic silver-medalist's best days were behind him.
I have been following Meb's career from about the time I started running and was excited (and, frankly a bit surprised) to find him among the leaders as the race reached its final stages.
American half marathon record holder Ryan Hall (right) - winner of the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008 - who many thought had a fighting chance of winning the race, finished fourth.
Meb came to the U.S. at the age of 10, fleeing with his parents from his native war-torn Eritrea(1)
Earlier this year, Meb wrote:
After a big struggle for the whole 2008 year, I committed to getting myself healthy. If I couldn't get healthy, I was ready to retire if it was God's will. I decided to go to Colorado Springs to get healthy. I spent two months there dedicating from 7am to 8 pm to rehabbing and getting stronger. As a professional runner, running is not the only part of the job. Getting healthy and maintaining your health is actually a full-time job that involves the right training, drills, nutrition, rest and education.
I would like to thank God for allowing me to see the bright moment after a dark 2008. I spent a lot time in physical therapy and doctors' offices. These are a runner's least favorite places, but I was able to make great progress and friends. Although there were many moments of frustration, I was okay with all of the rehabilitation because my faith and desire to be obedient on God's will. We all need to realize God loves us 24/7, not only when we are in the best of circumstances. God has been there to support me through the bad times and the good times. God cared for me and did not give up on me, unlike other people... but we'll leave it at that(2).
(1) Cazeneuve, Brian "Out Of Africa: Meb Keflezighi, formerly of Eritrea, heads into the U.S. nationals as America's best at 10,000 meters."