Public ceremony to honor Keflezighi to take place at the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion in Central Park on November 2 at 4:00 p.m.
New York, October 31, 2017— Marathon legend and NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador Meb Keflezighi, who will be racing the 26th and final marathon of his professional career on Sunday, November 5, at the TCS New York City Marathon, will be presented with this year’s Abebe Bikila Award by New York Road Runners. The Abebe Bikila Award has been presented by New York Road Runners since 1978 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport of distance running.
Keflezighi, along with this year’s NYRR Hall of Fame inductees and George Hirsch Journalism award recipient, will be honored on Thursday, November 2, at 4:00 p.m. at the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion in Central Park. The event will be open to the public.
Keflezighi will be racing his 26th and final career marathon this year at the TCS New York City Marathon. He is the only person in history to have won the New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon and an Olympic medal. 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 on Sunday.
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.
At this year’s TCS New York City Marathon, Keflezighi will once again wear his custom first name “MEB” bib, and it will be the last time a professional athlete wears their first name on their TCS New York City Marathon race bib.
About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, youth running initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit nyrr.org.