“We like to think he began his running career with us,” said Foot Locker U.S. CEO and president Dick Johnson who introduced Keflezighi today. Johnson recalled how Keflezighi watched the Foot Locker Championships high school cross country meet in San Diego playing soccer in 1987; he had no interest in running at the time. But in 1993, he raced those same championships finishing second to Adam Goucher, the true beginning of Keflezighi’s racing career.
“Yes, 20 years ago as Dick mentioned, I was in Morely Field in San Diego playing soccer,” said Keflezighi. He continued: “There was runners and, I’m like, why are these people running for? That was 1987 when Marc Davis, who happened to go to San Diego High School, won the race. I said, well, these people are crazy. Six years later I was on the starting line.”
Keflezighi said the he does not yet have specific projects where the foundation will be making donations. However, he said that his connection to his native Eritrea would be an influence. He also announced that the ING New York City Marathon had granted his foundation 20 charity entry spots in this year’s race where he will defend his title on November 7.
“Our goal is to use those spots to fund raise,” he said.
One guest was so inspired by Keflezighi, who finished fifth at last Monday’s Boston Marathon, that he made a $10,000 pledge on the spot.