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Elite Athlete Profile: Meb Keflezighi

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Meb Keflezighi, of San Diego, Calif., breaks the tape to win the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Judging by the difficulty many announcers had saying Meb Keflezighi's name when he won the 2014 Boston Marathon, you'd think he was some sort of rookie on the scene.

    But not only has Keflezighi been around the block a few times -- he won a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and just missed out on another -- he's also the exciting thing to happen to American road racing in a long time.

    Keflezighi was one of 10 siblings who came to the United States as an Eritrean refugee when the Eastern African country was at war with Ethiopia.

    From there, he became an All-American boy -- both literally, and figuratively -- racking up the track and field and cross country accolades in high school in San Diego, and at UCLA.

    Unlike sprinters, who have an extremely short shelf life, the 39-year-old Keflezighi is proof that you can continue to compete competitively at an age where most high-level athletes have long since hung it up.

    He's far removed from his personal best time in the 1500m -- a blazing 3:42.29 he ran in 1998 -- but his fastest marathon time came in Boston this year, 2:08:37.

    And it's that Boston effort that will enshrine him into American road racing lore forever.

    Not only was the only American to win that race since 1983, he was the oldest to do it since 1931.

    So how do you manage to run competitively at the sunset of your career? According to a recent interview with Runner's World, Keflezighi chalks much of it up to diet, and the following excerpt rang particularly true.

    "In the U.S. we always have too much access; there's an excess of food. You think, 'Two or three bites won't hurt me,' and you end up finishing it. A lot of people think, 'I run so much, I should eat whatever I want.' That's not true. My thinking now is, 'Eat because I need it, not because I want it'"

    Keflezighi was planning to retire after 2013, but came back this year to run Boston and the New York Marathon.