Despite my dogged determination and four separate attempts to gain entry, I was not able to snag a bib to run in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. Therefore, on race day, I was forced to assume the role of spectator–and boy, was it THE show to watch. There were so many incredible performances by women, namely Shalane Flanagan’s epic win, the first American woman to do so in 40 years. One of the other legendary components of this race was that it was Meb Keflezighi’s last marathon. Watching Meb’s last career marathon, in which he placed 11th overall, I couldn’t help reflecting on two years ago, when I had the unique opportunity to run with Meb. Fleet Feet Chicago hosted a shake-out run led by Meb. Here are some takeaways from that epic 20-minute run:
- Speedy Shake-Out – That was, without a doubt, my fastest shake-out run EVER. I was so caught up in the excitement of the moment that I had no concept of pace; I just wanted to keep up with Meb. Lesson learned here: don’t attempt a slow shake-out run with an Olympic athlete.
- Down to Earth – Meb was so incredibly humble and kind. I’ve found that runners are typically some of the most grounded and down-to-earth people. However, I assumed that once you were a famous, elite athlete, that might change. This was not the case with Meb.
- Patience is a Virtue – After the shake-out run, there were heaps of runners bombarding him with requests for photos and autographs. Even while people (including non-runners and random passersby!) were taking pictures and asking questions, he was humble and gracious. He made time to ask about runners’ upcoming races and offer tips, advice and suggestions.
- Running on Cloud Nine – For days following that run, I was elated. If I found myself feeling a bit down or upset, I’d simply remind myself that I had recently run with Meb, and my mood immediately improved. I’d like to think that I had a similar effect on Meb!