Meb is just a nickname... his full first name is actually Mebrahtom... and his last name is pronounced Kef-lez-ghee. He was born on May 5, 1975 (making him 36 years-old if you don't feel like doing the math) in Eritrea. His father fled Eritrea on foot, eventually ending up in Italy, where he sent for his family so that they could escape the war that had broken out there. The Keflezighi's arrived in the San Diego when Meb was 12, and he became a naturalized citizen in 1998. Meb began his running career while still in junior high, and was the 1994 CA state champion in both the 1600m and 3200m. He continued on at UCLA where he majored in Communications (with a concentration in Business). While in college, he won numerous NCAA championship races and received a bunch of All-American awards. His career highlights are summarized here. Of particular note:
- Meb won a silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics, becoming the first American man since Frank Shorter (1976) to win an Olympic medal at the marathon distance.
- In 2009, Meb won the ING NYC Marathon, becoming the first American to do so since 1982.