One of the Boston Marathon champion’s lifelong dreams will come true this evening.
WASHINGTON – Meb Keflezighi has stood on the Olympic podium and has won both the New York City and Boston marathons. All of these milestones have been incredible feats for the San Diego resident and on Tuesday night, the Eritrean-born American will be fulfilling another one of his life-long dreams: having dinner with the President of the United States in the White House.
The 39-year-old Keflezighi and his wife, Yordanos, are invited guests of the President and First Lady following the U.S.-Africa Leader’s Summit in Washington D.C, a meeting of more than 50 heads of state from throughout the continent.
PHOTOS: Meb Keflezighi Career Highlights
“I am very honored to be a part of this special occasion,” Keflezighi told Competitor as he was getting ready for the dinner. “I came to this country from Africa over 20 years ago and it is a true blessing for me to be able to meet with the President as well as many different cultures, leaders and religions from Africa.”
Keflezighi was born in the war-torn African nation of Eritrea. When he was 12, he moved to San Diego with his family and became an American citizen in 1998. At this year’s Boston Marathon, one year after the tragic terrorist bombings at the finish line, Meb became the first American man to win the race since 1983. “I wanted to turn the negative from last year into a positive,” he said of this year’s Boston victory. “And I feel thankful that I was able to do that.” Keflezighi has always been an admirer of the President and says he feels honored to transcend the running world as an ambassador for both the country and the sport. “I feel so proud,” he says with a broad smile. “I am speechless.”
But Keflezighi hopes to be able to say at least a few things to the President when he meets him this evening. “I will tell him the same thing I told him after he called me when I won Boston: I will say, ‘God bless you and all that you do for our country and the world.’”
Throughout the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa and members of Congress.