Jerrybrice's Blog
The intersection of animation, entertainment, and politics

Meb Keflezighi, San Diego High School Alum Wins New York Marathon, first American to win race since 1982

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Being a proud native of San Diego, I always find myself rooting for any athlete , performer or musician that steps out on the world stage to dominate whatever field they compete in.This comes from years of ridicule from associates that disrespect our beautiful city and our sports teams, because they hail from places like New York, Philadelphia , Chicago, and big cities like that, which have a rich tradition of championship sports franchises.

Any athlete from San Diego has my total support, and this weekend Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi represented our city well, and dominated all competition in the New York City marathon.

San Diego High School alumnus Meb Keflezighi,34 ,became the first American man since 1982 to win the prestigious New York City marathon Sunday. Alberto Salazar had been the last American men’s champion, taking three straight titles from 1980-82.

Born in Eritrea, the 34-year-old runner out of San Diego High  was second in New York in 2004 and third in 2005. Wearing ‘USA’ on the front of his jersey, Keflezighi won in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 15 seconds.

Meb Keflezighi was wiping away tears after Sunday’s New York City Marathon — for his victory and for his recovery from a 2007 hip injury he feared might end his career.

He was also emotional  thinking about Ryan Shay, a friend who collapsed and died at the U.S. Olympic trials in New York two years ago.

When Meb was 10, his family moved to Italy; two years later, the family came to the United States. Keflezighi began running in junior high in San Diego and proceeded to be a standout at UCLA.

“Definitely today wearing that USA jersey got the crowd going,” he said.

He was born in the African nation of Eritrea, growing up in a hut with no electricity. Soldiers would surround his village, looking for males 12 and older to take to war.

Eleven years ago safely settled in America as a refugee, Keflezighi wrote a letter to running champion Alberto Salazar, who was working with Nike. Keflezighi told him that for U.S. distance running to thrive, athletes needed the funding to allow them to train full-time.

That same year, Keflezighi became an American citizen.

Meb took the advice to heart, and continued to excel at the sport in high school and college, and garnered acclaim as well as sponsorship, allowing him to train and compete at a high level nationally and internationally.

San Diego is a military town, and has become a host to refugees from foreign wars as long as I can remeber.I remeber the early 70’s after the fall of Vietnam, our city gained thousands of Vietnamese citizens, and all I know is that I made many life long friends of Vietnamese ancestry, and our city is a better place with their presence.

We always have an open door here in our little border town, and although we are not immune to social issues that plague cities all throughout  America, I have noticed in my travels that we are ahead of the rest of the nation in race relations as we benefit from our vast racial diversity, and we all work well together here.

San Diego lives up to the promise as a melting pot society, and we would not have it any other way.We are the future,bigotry and xenophobia is a failed relic that should be banished to our past history…

In San Diego, we have a very large African community, due to war and strife in some of the countries there, as well as Philippines, Persians, and a whole host of immigrants from all around the world from every continent.

It is what we are about here, and I hope the rest of America can catch up to our example here, as we all get along, and effectively live amongst each other, without the vile effects of segregated communities.

Meb Keflezighi is one of the immigrants that settled and thrived here. He is just as much of an American as any descendant of the Pilgrims or Ellis Island immigrant.

The crowd got very excited to see him wearing the USA jersey in the marathon today especially when he crossed the finish line first, and when asked how he felt to wear the United States on his jersey, he said he….”definitely wore it with big honor and pride.”

San Diego, as well as the rest of the United States is very proud of our new Marathon champion, veteran runner Meb Keflezighi!!!….I will see you at the parade when we give him the keys to our town, America’s finest city!!!

For more information on Meb Keflezighi, click on the link below…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meb_Keflezighi

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