Letterman always tells us who the runners are, but we never hear from them. Often, that is because the winners are Africans who are not fluent in English.
That’s not the case with this year’s men’s champion: Meb Keflezighi (Kef-LEHZ-gee).
He was born in the African nation of
He deserves more than the usual token jog on “Letterman.”
Meb’s parents moved his family of 11 children out of
The Keflezighis lived briefly in
Meb became a
Meb then turned to the marathon and became one of the world’s best, winning the Olympic silver medal in 2004 and, less than two months later, finishing second in the New York City Marathon.
But Meb’s career was thought to be over two years ago when, at age 32, he suffered a stress fracture in his hip during the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in
The self-appointed experts in distance running wrote Meb off. He had never actually won a marathon.
Meb was too old, they said. Broken down. Washed up.
Ryan Hall, a fair-haired Californian and Meb’s close friend, was
But Meb refused to quit.
He had already proven an American could compete well against the best marathon runners in the world. On Sunday, he proved an American could beat the best.
Pulling away from a strong field in the 24th mile, Meb won the race in a personal-best time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 15 seconds.
He’s the first African-American champion in the 40-year history of the race, and the first American to win in
And because the New York City Marathon and USA Men’s Marathon Championship were held concurrently, Meb won his first two marathon titles on the same day.
“You visualize it and visualize it and when reality hits, it’s pretty sweet,” said Meb, who defeated runner-up Robert K. Cheruiyot of
Meb wore a
Meb, a married father of two, now has a “platform.” Now, he’s a “name.” Now, he deserves a speaking role on “Letterman.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, here is tonight’s Top 10 list delivered by your 2009
That would be worth staying up for.
Note: Hours after this posting came the announcement that Meb Keflezighi would read the Top 10 list on the November 2, 2009 "Late Show with David Letterman."