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Friday, May 18, 2012

Meeting Meb

"Like the marathon, life can sometimes be difficult, challenging and present obstacles, however if you believe in your dreams and never ever give up, things will turn out for the best.”
- Meb 

Earlier this week, something I never thought would happen - HAPPENED.

I got to meet a living running legend.  Someone who inspires me to BELIEVE that anything is possible.  Someone who reminds me to never give up, not ever.

Me and Meb!!
Meb Keflezhigi is more than an incredible runner.  It's true, he has an AMAZING running career - he won the Silver Medal in the marathon in the 2004 Olympics, won the 2009 NYC Marathon and came in first place in the marathon this year at the Time Trials for the the US Olympic team and will be representing our country in London this August.  These are just SOME of the highlights from his running - the list is LONG.  He is just an absolutely incredible athlete.

A little over a year ago I won an autographed copy of his book, Run to Overcome, on my good friend Dorothy's blog, Mile Posts.  I was SO excited to win it and couldn't wait to start reading.  From the moment I picked it up I am not kidding when I tell you that I could not put it down.  Meb's story is as remarkable as all of his running accomplishments.  His success was not just handed to him - he has worked so hard and has overcome a lot of very difficult times in his life and his running to get where he is today.  (If you have not read the book yet, I highly recommend it.  You can read Dorothy's great review of it by clicking HERE.)

A few years ago when Dorothy was volunteering for a local race (the ACLI Capital Challenge in DC) she was asked to pick Meb and his brother Hawi up from the train station and take them to their hotel.  She told me all about it - and as she spoke I could literally feel her excitement.  Her story completely captivated me.  I was beyond happy for her - my friend's passion and gratitude just shined so brightly from the inside out (she makes me feel this way on a daily basis when we talk about running.  If you read her blog I am sure you can imagine what I mean).  Living vicariously through her was pretty awesome.  But to get to experience it for myself - meeting one of my running heroes in real life - that would surely top it.  I just didn't really imagine I would ever have the opportunity. 

So a couple of months ago when Dorothy told me that Meb was returning for the race, and asked me if I would want to assist her with the awards this year, I just about jumped out of my seat.  Ummmm, yes are you kidding I would absolutely love to wake up at 4:30am on and go into the city with you to help out with this race.  Whatever you need - I am your girl!

My husband took a half day off from work on Wednesday and did the solo parenting thing with all three kids so that I could spend my morning with one of my best friends and a running legend.  It was pretty much a magical morning that I will never - EVER - forget.

Dorothy, Meb, me and Hawi
Meb was just as KIND as he is INSPIRING.  We talked about my sister Jodi's surgery and he told me to please give her his best.  He knows what it's like to have to recover from injury.  I told him about my running buddy Chris, and how he is a new runner and just beginning to truly BELIEVE in himself.  Meb smiled - he truly loves hearing about other runners of ALL levels, not just the most elite people out there.  I told Meb how I love what he says about RUNNING TO WIN - that it is not about coming in first place, rather it is about getting the BEST out of YOURSELF.  I love this message.

“But I also realize that winning doesn't always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself. One of my greatest joys is inspiring other people to perform at their best.” 
-Meb

I asked Meb to sign the inside of my favorite running hat, so that when I am wearing it I can look up and read his words and remember this day.

Winning = Being MY Best
I'm still floating, thinking about my morning with Meb and Dorothy.  Words can't really express how grateful I am for the experience.  I will carry it in my heart always.

Have you ever gotten to meet one of your running heroes?


Follow Meb here:
www.MarathonMeb.com
www.Twitter.com/RunMeb
www.Facebook.com/MarathonMeb

8 comments:

What an awesome experience, Jess! I have only heard good things about Meb- how sweet, humble and personable he is. Love that you got to spend some time with him!

AMAZING!! I love Meb. I will have to read his book next.

I love Meb! I ran on his team for NYC Marathon last year and got to talk to him on the phone, have lunch with him and his extended family, and visit with him a few times. I actually bumped into him and Hawi on a street corner in Boston (right after I finished running!) and they both recognized me and stopped to chat for a bit. Hawi is HONESTLY one of the single nicest people I have ever gotten to know. Love him!

So glad you got this opportunity. WONDERFUL!!! Hugs!

Oh my goodness...you are so lucky girl...that must have been AWESOME! So happy for you to have been able to experience such a great day! I have yet to meet any of my running hero's but maybe someday!

Wow! What wonderful opportunity. He is one of my favorite athletes for sure, and to experience that with your best friend sounds like a perfect day.

I agree that Meb is wonderful--I enjoyed his book very much, too! It sounds like a wonderful day for you.

Oh, WOW, WOW, WOW!!! I love your magic hat!
I had the privilege of watching him cross the finish line in Houston last January (I was working medical for the trials so I was right next to the line). It was so powerful - I cried.

Wow, what an amazing experience!! So happy for you :)

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