Surprise, Surprise: Men’s Olympic Marathon Preview

Meb Keflezighi. Photo:

Meb Keflezighi

Sidelined with a hip injury after the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2007 that would have ended the careers of most athletes, Keflezighi, a native of Eritrea, battled back to win the New York City Marathon in 2009 and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, becoming the oldest athlete in history to do so. Keflezighi and his coach, Bob Larsen, have been together for nearly 20 years. Larsen is the co-founder of the Mammoth Track Club, which was created to develop American Olympic medalists in distance running, a feat that Keflezighi and fellow member Deena Kastor accomplished in Athens.

Age at the Olympics: 37

Trains in: Mammoth, Calif.

PR: 2:09:08 (2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, Houston)

Recent results: 2011 New York City Marathon, sixth, 2:09:13; 2012 New York City Half Marathon, 13th, 1:01:41

Previous Olympic results: Silver medal, marathon, 2004; 12th, 10,000m, 2000

Olympic outlook: While he has the slowest PR of the men’s U.S. Olympic marathon team, he also has had the best results, as Keflezighi is a smart racer who shines in championship events. But if Keflezighi is going to earn a second Olympic medal, he’ll likely need a tactical race, as he simply isn’t as fast as any of the pre-race favorites who have run nearly 5 minutes faster. Of course, Keflezighi has proven the pundits wrong before—he managed to win the Trials in PR time only 69 days after getting sixth at the New York City Marathon, and all this at the ripe old age of 36.


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