Boston Marathon man Kelflezighi stops in for Carrboro visit

May. 02, 2014 @ 10:32 PM

Eleven days after winning the Boston Marathon, the United States’ most famous distance runner stopped by Carrboro Friday night.

Meb Keflezighi spoke to an audience of almost 400 people about his racing experiences, his training regiment and his journey as an Eritrean refugee who emigrated to the U.S. when he was 12. His appearance was sponsored by Fleet Feet Sports and Generation UCAN.

Kelflezighi spent the first 10 minutes of the hour-long conversation talking about his stirring win in Boston, when he became the first American man to win the race since 1983 — one year after a bombing at the finish line killed three spectators.

Kelflezighi wrote the names of the three victims on his racing bib and said he was inspired by the chants of “USA” from the crowd “People usually say ‘Congratulations, congratulations,’ ” said Keflezighi, who also won the 2009 New York City Marathon and earned a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. “But what people are saying (now) is ‘Thank you, thank you.’ I’m honored and humbled to have that opportunity.”

Keflezighi hasn’t run since that race — he may start again Monday on his 39th birthday. He said that Thursday night was the first time he could even walk normally.

But while he hasn’t kept up with his 130 miles a week he usually runs while in training, he’s still been plenty busy. Keflezighi received a telephone call from President Barack Obama, threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park and made countless television appearances. He will be in Fayetteville on Sunday for the All-American Marathon.

On Friday, he encouraged the crowd of recreation runners to continue their progress.

“You don’t become marathoners overnight,” Keflezighi said. “You run a half-mile, a mile, 5K, 10K. The hardest part about running is just getting out the door. Once you get out the door, it’s a beautiful feeling.”