Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Running with Character

There are many elite athletes who participate in the Bellin Run 10K in Green Bay every year. The top finishers typically cross the finish line in 30 minutes or less, while most other runners take an hour or more (or much more). We never see the champions again until the next Bellin Run.  This year, however, one elite runner I'd never seen before stood out from the rest. After his race was over, we saw him running back, against the stream of runners. Minutes later, he reappeared, running side-by-side with a young boy, encouraging him through the final stretch. He did this at least three times that we observed, always running with a young person. I later learned that he then stood at the finish line, high-fiving finishers. This man, who isn't from around here, who is still recovering from the Boston Marathon and who could have simply rested, thought of others. He made a difference, and I wanted to learn more about him. His name is Meb Keflezighi.

 photo credit: Green Bay Press Gazette

With a little research, I learned that Meb won the Boston Marathon this year and is a 3-time Olympian, a graduate of UCLA, and a husband and father. I also learned that he has overcome much in his life, having lived his first 12 years in war-torn Eritrea (Africa). He has also faced a soul-crushing injury (broken pelvis in 2009!) and the tragic loss of an Olympian friend on the same day. Meb wrote Run to Overcome, which was published in 2010 (the hard copy of which is currently out of stock but is available on Kindle and audio). In the book, he shares his inspiring journey. He's also used his success to create a foundation that makes me respect and appreciate him even more;

It's based on Meb's appreciation for balance in life, the philosophy to which he attributes his success.

For many, running is a solitary sport. Clearly, for Meb, it's much more.

The starting line of the children's race, the night before the Bellin Run.
[photo courtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette]

I tweeted this yesterday:

Thank you, , for your wonderful display of character @ today's . The world needs more people like you in it!

He read it and thanked me, which I think is pretty cool. I look forward to reading Meb's book and learning more about him.

To learn more about this special athelete, visit Marathon Meb and be inspired. You can also connect with Meb via his Facebook page and Twitter page, on which he shares very positive, uplifting posts.

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