Meb Keflezighi and Caroline Wozniacki are superstars. Both have spent years at the top of professional sports—marathon running for him, tennis for her—and both are confident of their ability to compete with the best in the world.
Today, as they announced that they’ll be running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon on November 2, Keflezighi and Wozniacki shared another area of common ground: their commitment to children’s fitness. Both athletes will run the marathon as Team for Kids Ambassadors, raising funds and awareness for NYRR’s youth programs.
“We’re excited to welcome two of the world’s top athletes to the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon as Team for Kids Ambassadors,” said NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. “They’ll serve as inspirations to the 50,000 runners and millions of fans lining the streets of the City’s five boroughs and watching the race broadcast around the world.”
At age 39, Keflezighi, of San Diego, has attained legendary status in distance running. In April he won the 2014 Boston Marathon, becoming the first American male champion there in more than 30 years. He was the 2009 New York City Marathon champion, also breaking a decades-long drought without an American winner. He’s finished in the top 10 in New York an amazing six times. He also won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon and took fourth place in the 2012 London Olympic Marathon. A former American record-holder at 10,000 meters, Keflezighi has won more than 20 national championships in track and field, cross country, and road racing.
Wozniacki, 24, of Odense, Denmark, qualified for her first Grand Slam tournament final—the U.S. Open—as a teenager in 2009, the same year she became the first Danish player in history to rank among the world’s top 30 women. She held the number-one spot in the WTA rankings for 67 weeks during 2010 and 2011. A two-time Olympian, she was the 2006 Wimbledon junior singles champion. She captured the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup this year on July 20; it was her 22nd WTA title. Wozniacki is currently ranked number 15 in the world by the WTA and will be competing in the 2014 U.S. Open. The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon will be her road-racing debut.
The question for both athletes is: Why this marathon, this year, as a Team for Kids Ambassador?
“I have achieved everything I hoped to achieve as an athlete,” said Keflezighi. “The talent I was given has been fulfilled. Now, the challenge is to see how long I can continue to hold it at that level. I’m competitive by nature, and if I’m healthy and in great shape I’m going to do everything I can to win the race. I did my first marathon in New York [in 2002], and it inspires me. New York Road Runners has been like family to me, and it’s a great honor to work with them as a Team for Kids Ambassador.”
Wozniacki, though she admitted to feeling “a little nervous and outside my comfort zone,” has long dreamed of running the New York City Marathon. “I’ve always wanted to run it, and to do it for charity,” she says. “I looked at my schedule this year and things were quite free for me in November.”
Running as a Team for Kids Ambassador, she says, will allow her to give kids the same kinds of opportunities that helped her as an athlete. “Sports have been such a big part of my life—being active, reaching for goals, connecting with people,” she says. “All kids need to have those opportunities.”
Calling New York “one of my favorite cities in the world,” Wozniacki says she’s excited to transform herself into a marathoner. She's already taken a few training tips from Keflezighi.
“I told her that the most important thing is to stay healthy,” Keflezighi said, “and to have fun—in training and on race day.”
Donations to Team for Kids on behalf of Wozniacki’s run can be made at www.crowdrise.com/carolinew.
Donations to Team for Kids and to The MEB Foundation on behalf of Keflezighi’s run can be made at www.crowdrise.com/meb.
NYRR’s youth programs serve more than 200,000 schoolchildren in New York City’s five boroughs and around the country. Both athletes will participate in Team for Kids activities during race week and will represent more than 1,700 Team for Kids runners, who will raise an estimated $4.5 million on race day.