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Knew It Would Be Tough Race
Entering the race, Keflezighi knew it would be one of the toughest of his career. Training hadn’t gone problem-free for the UCLA alum, and “glute” injuries had bugged him sporadically in the months leading up to the race. With only four weeks of training at over 100 miles, and his longest tempo run having been 12 miles, Keflezighi’s expectations were modest.
Things didn’t improve when he approached the starting line. In the minutes before the starter’s gun fired, a select number of athletes were announced and honored in front of the crowd. Among them were Hall, world champion Abel Kirui, Great Britain’s Scott Overall and Brazil’s Marilson Gomes dos Santos. Keflezighi, the only man in the field of 105 with an Olympic medal, was not amongst them.
“To not acknowledge somebody who’s the only one standing there — yes the other guys have run faster — but I’m the only one from 2004, eight years later,” said Keflezighi with a shake of his head. “Credit is due where credit is due. And to not get recognized I was a little bitter, but I got in the front and let them know who I was.”
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The snub wasn’t the last of Keflezighi’s problems on race day. Hydration issues and mistaken fluid bottles would hamper him through halfway. Twelve months later, the early miscues help Keflezighi put his fourth-place finish in perspective.
“I have to look back and kind of gain even more appreciation for it, but it wasn’t a good day for me, personally. I had five weeks of training, I was struggling, and even though I thought I could finish in the medal stand — third place bronze or fourth place going in — I thought I’d be playing catch up,” he said. “It worked out that way because I was struggling with my fluids, had the wrong drink and all that stuff.”