American distance runner Meb Keflezighi ran his 26th and final career marathon in New York City on November 5, 2017.
This article originally appeared on Competitor Running.
Meb Keflezighi is the last American male to win the New York City Marathon, accomplishing the feat back in 2009. The Eritrean-born marathon runner also won the Boston Marathon in 2014, and he won the Silver Medal at the 2004 Olympics. Imagine that–coming in second place in the event the Greeks invented!
But Keflezighi also announced he was retiring from marathon-running as a professional at the age of 42, after running Sunday’s 2017 TCS NYC Marathon.
Interestingly, he’s not giving up running altogether, just the marathons. He’s planning to run other races, like the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis on May 5, 2018. It’s the largest half-marathon in the United States–and it also happens to fall on his 43rd birthday!
The face of long-distance running in America is finally going to stop running 26.2 miles at a time. He started back in 2002–in this very same race in the same city. He has now run 26 career marathons (26 is an interesting number!); this is one last look at how Sunday’s race went for the superstar.
Meb Keflezighi’s Final NYC Marathon
Keflezighi finished 11th overall among the men’s competition, posting a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 29 seconds. Meb waved and blew kisses to the crowd as he approached the finish. But he finally collapsed to the ground when he crossed the finish line to the excitement of all of the NYC Marathon fans and spectators. With so much buildup over this, his final competitive marathon, including interviews and appearances, Meb just had nothing left. He had given it his all, just like the 25 marathons he’d run before. He got up, with the help of his wife, Yordanos Asgedom, who brought him to his coach, Bob Larsen.
Meb’s final time was just under his average NYC Marathon time of 2:13:31 before this race, and it was his ninth-best finish of the 11 career NYC marathons he has run.
Keflezighi remarked later that he had been dealing with an upset stomach for a portion of the race, and he had vomited a few times from the 23rd mile on to the finish line.
But before the sickness and the fantastic finish, Meb ran a very strong race for a marathon in which he was not expected to compete among the best. After the pack started slow, Keflezighi got off to a great start, but once the lead pack got through 19 miles, the eventual winner, Geoffrey Kamworor, posted a 4:48 mile, and Meb fell back.
What does the future hold for Mebrahtom Keflezighi? Will he turn to coaching? Will he retreat to spend more time with his family, which he has indicated is his preference? Will we someday hear him as a color analyst for the Olympics and other major marathons across the country? There’s one thing for certain–more Meb can only be a good thing.