We’re proud and honored to introduce our newest AfterShokz ambassador, Meb Keflezighi! Known by just his first name, Meb is loved and admired in the running community and beyond. He is the only runner in history to win the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon, and an Olympic medal. Meb has competed in four Olympic Games and is the oldest marathoner to qualify for the US Olympic team. He is the author of three highly acclaimed books on running and, along with his wife, Yordanos, is a proud parent of three daughters. Meb recently retired from professional running, yet he continues to inspire runners and non-runners alike to overcome obstacles and do their very best in life. Welcome to the AfterShokz family, Meb!
AfterShokz: Meb, you’ve been introduced countless times in your life. How would you introduce yourself? How do you want to be known throughout the world?
Meb: I’m always honored when people tell me they’ve been touched by my running career. To know that my life has been a symbol of the good things that come from hard work, perseverance, and faith means so much to me. To be known as an inspirational figure outside my role as a runner makes me proud because it means my running had an impact that went beyond myself.
AfterShokz: You have inspired so many to be the best version of themselves. Who has been your inspiration to be the best Meb that you can be?
Meb: I spent the first 10 years of my life in Eritrea, a small but beautiful nation in East Africa, followed by a year in Italy before my family and I settled in San Diego when I was 12. It was the courage and vision of my parents that made the life I enjoy today possible. My dad walked 225 miles from Eritrea to Sudan during one of the most difficult periods of the Eritrean War of Independence to save our family—that’s more than a marathon a day! Meanwhile, my mother worked tirelessly to raise six kids while my father was seeking opportunities for us outside of Eritrea. It’s safe to say that my mother and father were my first and strongest role models.
AfterShokz: In 2017, you retired from professional running after competing in 26 career marathons—one for each mile of the race. How has running changed for you in retirement after all those years of training and racing?
Meb: Running will always be a part of my life. I do not train the same way I did as a professional athlete, but I am just as passionate a runner today as I ever have been. For me, it’s not about distance or pace, but getting outside every day to clear my mind on a good run. Running is irreplaceable.
AfterShokz: In your latest book, 26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life from My Marathon Career, you share so much about the incredible highs as well as the heart-wrenching lows that you saw in your running career. Which marathon—for better or for worse—was the most meaningful to you and why?
Meb: There is no doubt the 2014 Boston Marathon stands out as the most meaningful marathon I ever ran. To win that race on a day when 36,000 other runners toed the starting line to support the city of Boston, the sport of running, and even the entire nation one year after the terrorist attacks at the finish line will forever be the most significant moment of my career. We all ran to be “Boston Strong” that day. I was humbled to have the role of leading my fellow runners to the finish on Boylston Street.
AfterShokz: At several points in your career, you were plagued with injuries and you considered retiring from running. Did you truly ponder an alternate career path and, if so, what would you have been if you weren’t a professional runner?
Meb: After I failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games, I did consider retiring from running. At the time, I was suffering a pelvic stress fracture and was reduced to crawling on my hands and knees because I couldn’t walk upright. If I had left running then, I may have pursued coaching. I love connecting with people and supporting runners’ dreams. That would have given me fulfillment. As it turned out, the greatest races of my career happened after that low point—the 2009 NYC Marathon, the 2012 Olympic Trials, and the 2014 Boston Marathon. That’s why I’m a big believer in faith and staying true to your dreams.
AfterShokz: You’ve said that you think of marathons as a metaphor for life. What do you mean by that?
Meb: The course of our lives is something we can never totally control or foresee. But we can commit to doing the best we can. For me, the marathon is a beautiful metaphor for the heartbreaks and difficulties we face in life. What I learned from marathon running is that it is possible to persist through these difficult moments and ultimately exceed our own expectations. No marathon I’ve run was ever easy, but I’ve never regretted giving it my best effort. That’s a great attitude to have for life.
AfterShokz: We know that your “Run to Win” motto has always meant more than just racing to the finish line. What does it mean for you now that you’re retired?
Meb: I still challenge myself to live up to the “Run to Win” philosophy, which simply means this: commit to getting the best out of yourself, no matter what. We can’t win every race we run, just like we can’t expect every outcome in life to go our way. Nonetheless, if you commit to putting in your best effort, you’ll be surprised by what you can achieve.