Keflezighi sets sights for Rio marathon at age 41

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:58pm EST
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By Jahmal Corner

(Reuters) - Meb Keflezighi has run past his humble beginnings, his marathon opponents and his advanced age as he reaches distances only he can see. When the Rio Olympics are held in August, Keflezighi, who turns 41 in May, will be the oldest United States Olympic marathon runner in history. It could be the latest chapter in a career that is finally nearing the finish line.

Keflezighi says the 2013 U.S. Half Marathon Championship was supposed to be his swan song.

"The marathon is a prestigious event, but a brutal one," he told Reuters in a recent interview.

"As you get older the physical part (is the hardest). My parents always look forward to me being able to retire."

Yet Keflezighi keeps pushing forward, adding to a legacy that sets him apart.

The Eritrean-born American distance runner is an Olympic silver medalist (2004) and winner of the New York City Marathon (2009) and Boston Marathon (2014).

The Boston triumph, Keflezighi says, was the crowning achievement of his career. He was the first American in 31 years to pull off the feat and it came one year after the infamous Boston bombings.

Keflezighi is a mix of gentle spirit and take-no-prisoners competitor.   Continued...

Feb 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Meb Keflezighi places second in 2:12:20 during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials marathon. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports