Do you know who the 2004 men’s marathon Olympic silver medalist was? What about the 2009 ING New York City Marathon winner? He also won the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Houston, TX. At 36, he is the oldest man to ever accomplish such a feat. If you don’t know by now, I’m talking about Mebrathom (Meb) Keflezighi.
In his book Run to Overcome, you learn about his fight for survival as a child in Eritrea, his journey to becoming an elite runner, and the trials and tribulations he faced in many facets of his life. This is more than a book about running. It’s an inspiring account of what a determined individual can achieve. Meb credits his success to his faith in God and the unconditional support of his family and friends.
I’m not the only one that has pondered about the life of an elite runner. This book conveys to you a person that’s humbled by his gift, but appreciative of the joy it brings him. Meb gives you a glimpse into his life with each page fueling your desire to want to know more about him and how he handles success and adversity. He reinforces the ideals that were instilled in him as a child by his parents.
How do you define winning? “Winning doesn’t always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself.” With this thought he later went on to start the MEB (Maintaining Excellent Balance) Foundation. Exercise isn’t only a good way to improve your health, but it can also be used to learn to set goals. He believes “sports is one of the best ways to teach young people the value of determination, hard work, and a balanced approach in every endeavor. Those virtues then transcend the playing field and impact everyday life.”
One can only admire Meb’s approach to life. He recognized that life is what you make out of it no matter the circumstances. Often times we fret over unforeseen occurrences, training, and disappointment. I understand being disciplined, but we are human. I know some of your are superheroes, but you are still human. Life happens. You may find yourself experiencing burnout or lacking motivation, but you must dig deep and believe you will overcome it.
“Even with proper training, you never know what will happen on race day. The weather, the course conditions, your own body—all seem to conspire against you.” We must learn to accept our failures just as we do our victories. There is a lesson to be learned regardless of the outcome. Meb is not only a champion in running, but also in life. He has represented Eritrea and the United States well. Bring on London!
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