Meb And Abdi: Longtime Rivals, Longtime Friends

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Mar. 18, 2011
Meb and Abdi aren't just competitors, they're friends. Photo:

Meb and Abdi aren't just competitors, they're friends, too. Photo:

They’ve known each other for 15 years.

On Sunday, African-born American runners Meb Keflezighi and Abdi Abdirahman will be squaring off for the 50th time. The event is the New York City Half Marathon. Were these two opponents boxers, they’d probably not be speaking to each other, but that’s not the case in the distance-running world.

Keflezighi (“Meb”) and Abdirahman (“Abdi”) have been good friends all along.

Both runners have been to the Olympics. Keflezighi was a silver medalist in the marathon at the 2004 Olympics, while Abdi has represented the United States at three Olympics in the 10,000m event. The two call each other often when their college basketball teams square off and request to room together when they are competing in the same race.

Reflecting on their competitive friendship, Meb had this to say: “”I’m mellower, I think. It’s a very intense competition with each other, but there are times we’ve helped each other in a race. He’s a great guy.”

“He wants to beat me and I want to beat him, but when the race is over, we’re friends,” said Abdi.

For More: ESPN

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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