I wrote this today as an entry to a contest to run in the 2017 NYC Marathon alongside Meb Keflezighi, my favorite runner. I am not an elite runner by any stretch of the imagination, but Meb inspires me.
Meb is the reason I thought I could run a marathon. Corny, but true. I watched Meb in the 2012 Olympics, after I’d completed my first half marathon. Meb is an everyman. He doesn’t look like the other runners; he doesn’t act like the other runners. Meb is a friend you’re cheering on, not an imposing elite athlete.
I ran the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon with my twin sister. We were both undertrained and nervous. We dedicated each mile to a member of our family or our friend group. Our first mile, though, was to Meb. “To Meb,” my sister said as we ran the past the mile marker. “Who got us started in the first place.”
I haven’t run a marathon since 2013 or a half marathon since 2015. I had a baby, was beset by injuries. But when I told my sister (who had also been plagued with injuries) I thought I might hang up my shoes she was aghast. “You can’t quit!” she said. “What would Meb think?!” So we bought Meb’s book and we’re both back in the proverbial race. She is racing the NYC Half in March; I’m racing the Brooklyn Half in May. We’d both hoped to get into the marathon so we could say we ran with Meb.
I may never meet Meb. But I know him. And he’s changed me. That’s why I’d be honored to run with him in NYC this fall.
This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can find out more about the challenge here!