Meb’s life story, particularly the way it weaves its way from Eritrea to Southern California gives wonderful insight into how someone can survive a worn torn childhood in Africa with little hope and emerge an Olympic medalist. Meb used his talent to literally run from his past and into his future. His is a story of endurance in the face of civil war transformed into the endurance of an Olympic distance runner. He shows that to some degree you do make your own luck. True, he had support along the way to his marathon silver medal in Athens, particularly in the form of his close knit, incredibly resilient family, but, it was Meb’s unique mind and body that did the work.
Meb’s family instilled in him a persistence and toughness that allowed him to rise above barriers and setbacks that would have defeated most athletes. Meb made himself into a great runner by working on every aspect of the art and science of running. His dedication to purpose and to the details of training is unsurpassed by all the great athletes I have worked with or observed.
Meb’s story is one of the most compelling I know, and one that will lift all spirits. His victory in New York was much bigger than an individual win—rather, it was a win for a family whose story represents the best of this nation.
While Meb’s performances have shown me what is possible for American distance running and urged me, his teammate, to press in for more, his overcoming spirit through the lows have shown me what it looks like to be a real man. Meb has the remarkable capacity never to lose hope and to experience joy in his life no matter what his circumstances. He is truly gracious in victory and defeat. It is this characteristic that I admire most in Meb.
Just when there was a need for another American hero in our sport, along came Meb. He epitomizes everything this sports stands for—courage, determination, commitment, and above all, respect. There is no better role model in our sport than Meb Keflezighi.
No runner has endured a longer or more arduous marathon than Meb Keflezighi— from Eritrea to Italy to the USA—or conquered the distance with as much optimism, resilience, and grace. Run To Overcome is the inspiring story of the man who led the rebirth of distance running in the States. A truly American story.
I first saw Meb run as a freshman at UCLA, where he immediately made an impact on collegiate distance running. Meb seems to make an impact wherever he goes and on whatever he is involved in. Whether it is inspiring a resurgence in US distance running or helping his family realize the American dream, Meb is an iconic example of a person setting out to be the best that he can be.
Meb is one of the key figures who has put U.S. distance running back on the
map. More important, he is a personal inspiration to so many
people. It is not what he has achieved, but how he has achieved it, that is
most remarkable. He has overcome incredible adversity and accomplished what
many thought was impossible. Through it all, Meb’s positive outlook and the
importance he places on family serve as an example to us all.
Runners and nonrunners alike will be moved by the incredible life story of Meb and the Keflezighi family. Strong family values molded Meb into a determined, humble, and hungry competitor. Run to Overcome is his story of triumph, perseverance, and victory. It will move you, not just to run faster, but to go through life with the passion and grace of this truly blessed athlete.
This book is a must-read for every coach and athlete in America. Meb’s journey has displayed the true qualities of Olympism as well as any Olympic athlete past or present. It is this magnificent display of values that has propelled him to become one of America’s greatest distance runners.
Run to Overcome provides a fascinating inside look at Meb’s efforts to strengthen American distance running.
Meb’s story is the American dream. He has worked hard to succeed both personally and professionally and to create a better life for his family and those around him. Run to Overcome is a book that anyone looking to understand what success really is should read.
Meb’s vision, passion and disciplined execution have made him an exceptional athlete. While competing with Meb over the years, I had the pleasure of learning that he’s even a better human being than he is an athlete. As Meb continues to couple these exceptional talents and traits, there is nothing he can’t accomplish.
Meb’s early years in Eritrea were very similar to mine in Ethiopia. His family’s journey ultimately landed him in the United States at a young age. Meb has utilized the support and resources around him to get the most out of his God-given talent and has gone on to become one of the best distance runners in U.S. history. Meb is someone I respect and admire, not only for his achievements but also for his character.
Meb is a natural runner with a stride as smooth as silk. What I love most about Meb, though, is the way he communicates a message of diversity, so that runners of all races, colors, and abilities are accepted and celebrated in the great sport of running.
Meb and I had our shining moment at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Those of us who know Meb, know he is a very giving person who loves interacting with people. In person, via e-mail, and by phone, Meb advises me and my Eritrean teammates on many matters related to running. I was very happy to see him earn an Olympic silver medal and win the New York City Marathon.