November 4, 2012 in Sports

Keflezighi keeps marathon cancellation in perspective

Associated Press

NEW YORK – Meb Keflezighi need only think of the Staten Island mother whose two children were swept away by flood waters to keep perspective on the cancellation of the New York City Marathon.

The father to three young daughters, Keflezighi feels a special bond with New York. It was his first marathon and it might be his last. And in 2009, New Yorkers cheered him as he became the first American in 27 years to win the race.

Organizers met with elite runners Saturday, a day after the event was scrapped with less than 48 hours’ notice. Keflezighi gave New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg’s message: “This is what you’ve been working for, and sorry I can’t give it to you in many ways, because it’s just not safe.”

Keflezighi then felt compelled to make an impromptu speech.

“We understand,” he told NYRR officials. “It’s like an injury. You have to sometimes stop then come back stronger.”

Keflezighi said other runners, coaches and agents told him later they supported his message.

Keflezighi went for a 6-mile run Friday evening in preparation for today’s race. When he returned to the hotel, he saw the cancellation news on a video screen in the elevator.

The 37-year-old Californian planned to run New York, then a spring marathon, then New York again next year. After that, he may retire.

© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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