Fan favourite Meb Keflezighi announced this week that he will be racing the Boston Marathon for the final time in 2017.
The 2014 Boston Marathon champion has represented the United States at four Olympic Games dating back to 2004 when he won silver in the men’s marathon. Next year will be Keflezighi’s final year of “competitive racing,” which may leave the door open for future running events though in a non-competitive capacity.
— meb keflezighi (@runmeb) December 14, 2016
Keflezighi, who is often referred to as “Meb,” will race two marathons in 2017: Boston and New York City. The two major marathons will mark his 25th and 26th career races over the storied distance as he will have run one marathon for every mile of the race. The Eritrean-born runner, 41, was named as one of six returning champions to race the 121st Boston Marathon in 2017.
“I am excited to announce that I will be running my 25th competitive marathon at the 2017 Boston Marathon,” said Keflezighi. “You come to Boston to be a part of history and to make history.”
Other past Boston champions announced for the 2017 race include Wesley Korir, who is married to Canadian Tarah Korir, Caroline Rotich, Buzunesh Deba as well as the two defending champions, Atsede Baysa and Lemi Berhanu Hayle. Next year’s Marathon Monday in Boston is set for April 17 marking Keflezighi’s fifth time racing arguably the world’s most famous marathon.
Keflezighi will be 42 at the time of the 2017 New York City Marathon, which is set for Nov. 5, as he approaches the conclusion of his competitive racing career. He has a marathon lifetime best of 2:08:37 and also won the New York City Marathon in 2009. The famed runner finished 33rd in the men’s marathon at the Rio Olympics and notably did pushups at the finish line (click for video).
The Boston Marathon is a qualification-based race as runners must hit respective standards, which vary depending on age and sex, in order to be eligible to compete. Achieving the standard does not guarantee entry as the race becomes increasingly tough to get into with thousands of applications.
The Boston course is point-to-point beginning in Hopkinton, Mass. and finishes on Boylston Street in downtown Boston 42.2K later. The route is fairly hilly and the elite races are often tactical as there are no pacemakers to encourage fast times.
It’s expected that the Boston Marathon will announce the remaining international elite field in January. The winner of both the men’s and women’s races take home US$150,000.