Keflezighi, an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, raced the 26th and final career marathon at the TCS New York City Marathon, collapsing at the finish line to finish in 11th place.
In 2015, in completing his 10th New York City Marathon, Keflezighi tied Grete Waitz of Norway for the most appearances in the elite division of the race; in the process, he broke the event record for masters athletes (age 40+) by 62 seconds with a 2:13:32 performance. He’ll surpass Waitz’s mark when he runs the five-borough course as an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador on November 5.
In 2009, Keflezighi became the first American since 1982 to win the New York City Marathon. Throughout his career, he’s finished in the top 10 in New York eight times and has finished as the top American seven times. Last year, he joined other members of the United States’ Rio Olympic marathon team as a Grand Marshal for the TCS New York City Marathon.
Keflezighi recorded one of the more memorable moments in American distance running when he won the 2014 Boston Marathon. He broke away from the field early and held his lead to become the first American male Boston champion since Greg Meyer in 1983. The previous year, Keflezighi, spectating, had stood in Copley Plaza to greet finishers and left only a short time before the bombing attacks occurred. The Boston win, in a personal-best 2:08:37 at age 38, lengthened the 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist’s remarkable stay at the top of the U.S. ranks. In his second Olympic marathon, in London in 2012, Keflezighi placed fourth after passing 13 men in the second half of the race. At the Rio 2016 Olympics, he finished 33rd in 2:16:46.
Keflezighi was born in Eritrea in a village with no electricity. His parents took their 11 children out of the country when a war with Ethiopia would have forced the boys into the military. They eventually settled in San Diego, CA; Keflezighi became a U.S. citizen in 1998, and won four NCAA titles while at UCLA. After graduation, he continued to train with his college coach, Bob Larsen, and he set a 10,000-meter national record of 27:13.98 in 2001 that stood for nine years.