By Nick Zaccardi | NBC Sport,
Meb Keflezighi will end his elite racing career with the Boston and New York City Marathons next year.
Keflezighi, 41, was announced as part of April’s Boston Marathon elite field on Wednesday. The 2004 Olympic silver medalist previously announced he would retire after racing the New York City Marathon next November.
Keflezighi’s greatest marathon successes came in New York City and Boston, winning the 26.2 mile races in 2009 and 2014, respectively. Keflezighi’s win in Boston came one year after twin bombings rocked the world’s oldest annual marathon.
Keflezighi has finished 24 career marathons (four in Boston, 10 in New York City) and has long said he wants to end his career with 26 career 26.2-mile races.
In Rio, Keflezighi became the second-oldest U.S. Olympic runner of all time and finished 33rd in that marathon after stopping seven times during the race due to stomach problems.
The Boston Athletic Association also announced Wednesday that 2016 Boston winners Atsede Baysa and Lemi Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia will defend their titles on April 17.
In all, the last three women’s champions are already booked for the race — Baysa and Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia and Caroline Rotich of Kenya.
As is 2012 men’s winner Wesley Korir of Kenya.
The full elite American field is scheduled to be announced later this month and the full elite international field in January.
Meb Keflezighi Enters Boston Marathon One Last Time in 2017
By Dave Monti,
Six previous race champions have committed to running next April’s Boston Marathon, including both reigning champions Atsede Baysa and Lemi Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia, organizers announced today. The 121st edition of the world’s oldest marathon will be held on Monday, April 17.
In addition to Baysa and Hayle, organizers said that previous race winners Caroline Rotich of Kenya (2015); Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia (2014); Meb Keflezighi of San Diego, Calif. (2014); and Wesley Korir of Kenya (2012) would also run the race, chasing the $150,000 first prize (equal for men and women), the largest of any marathon in the United States.
“When you win the Boston Marathon, you join a legendary list of the world’s greatest runners,” observed Rob Friedman, head of sponsorship and event marketing at John Hancock Financial, the longtime sponsor of Boston’s elite race. “We welcome back our defending and past champions and the tens of thousands of runners who will join them on Patriots’ Day to run the most historic marathon in the world.”
The Boston Marathon, one of the six commercial marathons of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, is run under championships conditions with no pacemakers. Boston’s hilly course can combine with unpredictable weather to produce truly dramatic races, some fast and some slow. Tactics play a big role and athletes literally must think on their feet, like in the Olympics or IAAF World Championships. The race has been won with bold front-running tactics (Keflezighi), come-from-behind drama (Baysa), and late-race surges (Hayle).
“When six athletes who have so richly enhanced the history of the Boston Marathon are returning to compete again, it’s very exciting,” said Tom Grilk, the chief executive of the Boston Athletic Association which founded and organizes the race. “These are some of the world’s finest runners, and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”
The 2017 Boston Marathon marks the 32nd year of John Hancock’s sponsorship of the race. The elite American field will be announced later this month and the complete elite international field will be announced in January.
— meb keflezighi (@runmeb) December 14, 2016