FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Meb Keflezighi Returns Home to the Streets of San Diego
Strong Elite Fields to Lead Nearly 32,000 Runners
at 14th Annual Dodge Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
San Diego, CA – June 1, 2011 – The streets of San Diego will be alive with
music and the excitement created by fans of hometown hero Meb Keflezighi
during Sunday's Dodge Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon
To Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®. Keflezighi, running on the
roads in the city he grew up in for the first time as a professional, will
have plenty of supporters among the crowd, including his parents, brother,
sister, wife, children, friends, former classmates and many in the
community who have watched his rise to stardom with pride.
"It will be something special," Keflezighi said, of his pro debut in San
Diego. "I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to doing it. It's an
opportunity for a lot of (familiar) people to see me. It should be fun
running in the city where I grew up. I don't get that treat very often.
I've always wanted to do it."
The diminutive Keflezighi, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen upon his
graduation from UCLA in 1998, finished second in the marathon at the 2004
Olympics, becoming the first U.S. medalist in the event since Frank Shorter
won gold in 1972 and silver in 1976. He will be trying to regain the form
that has made him one of the world's premier distance runners.
After his performance this Sunday, Meb plans to continue running in shorter
road races throughout the rest of this year and next. His only commitments
are to the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 6 and the U.S. Olympic
marathon trials Jan. 14 in Houston. Should he make the U.S. team - he
missed out in 2008 because of a pelvic injury incurred during the Trials in
Central Park where he placed eighth - it will be on to London for the 2012
Matt Turnbull, the Elite Athlete Manager for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
Series, is elated to have Keflezighi competing. He was scheduled to run in
the race last year, but was injured.
"A hometown performance is always a special moment for an athlete like Meb.
He went to San Diego high school and hasn't returned to run since he won in
New York," said Turnbull, referencing Keflezighi's 2009 New York Marathon
victory, the first American to claim the title in 27 years. "He'll have so
many friends and family there and he'll want to win for that reason alone.
It's exciting to have him racing on the roads of San Diego for the first
While most of the attention will be centered on Keflezighi, Turnbull thinks
it's possible that the men's event record in the marathon – 2:08:33, set by
Kenya's Philip Tarus in 1999 – could be broken. The elite field is vying
for a prize purse that will award $25,000 to the champion.
William Kipsang of Kenya is the fastest of the group, with a 2:04:57
personal record (PR) from the Frankfurt Marathon in 2010. He recently set
his PR for 25k in Berlin last month. The other favorites are Ethiopians
Nagari Terfa (2:07:41) and Daniel Abera (2:09:53), who set a course record
at the Sevilla Marathon in February and is the younger brother of Olympic
and World Marathon champion Gezahegn Abera. Potential challengers include
Kenya's Gilbert Chepkwony, with a PR of 2:08:33, and Ethiopia's Yakob
Jarso, who is making his marathon debut, but ran a 1:00:07 for the
half-marathon last year in New Delhi.
"We have a good group of guys who can attack 2:08," Turnbull said. "It's
going to be tough to call a winner. Kipsang has the credentials. He has the
pedigree and knows how to win. If we can have a good, competitive race with
three or four guys close to the course record, we'll be happy."
The women's field will be without three-time defending champion Yulia
Gromova of Russia, who is injured, but will not lack for talent. Heading
the group is Kenya's Salina Kosgei, winner of the 2009 Boston Marathon and
the third-place finisher last year. Kosgei, who owns a PR of 2:23:22, has
also won marathons in Paris and Singapore, finished second at Tokyo and
twice placed fourth at London.
"She's a star athlete and we're delighted she's coming here," Turnbull
said. "She's at the peak of her career."
Her top challengers include Kenya's Helena Kirop, twice the third-place
finisher at the Berlin Marathon; Albina Mayorova-Ivanova of Russia, who has
won twice at Nagano and once each at Singapore and Dubai, and Ethiopia's
Buzunesh Deba, winner of the Los Angeles Marathon two months ago. Deba
recently won the Healthy Kidney 10k in New York as part of her build up to
Marathon weekend will kick off with a Health & Fitness Expo presented by
Power Balance at the San Diego Convention Center. 2011 Boston Marathon
runner-up Desiree Davila, who will be making her first public appearance in
her hometown of San Diego since Boston, will be on-hand at the Dodge Expo
Booth to autograph posters on Friday, June 3 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and
Saturday, June 4 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The marathon and half marathon start at 6:15 am on Sunday, June 5. The
marathon route begins at 6th Ave. and Quince St, running through Balboa
Park, downtown San Diego, PETCO Park, with a bayfront finish adjacent to
SeaWorld. Event weekend concludes with a finish line festival and post race
concert headlined by Nada Surf. For more information, visit Competitor.com.
About Dodge Rock 'n' Roll San Diego
A Competitor Group Inc. event, the 14th annual Dodge Rock 'n' Roll San
Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon To Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma
Society ® will run through sunny San Diego on Sunday, June 5th. The
sold-out race has draw nearly 32,000 entrants, with live bands and
cheerleaders interspersed along each mile of the scenic course. A two-day
Health and Fitness Expo presented by Power Balance at the San Diego
Convention Center will kick off race weekend on Friday, June 3, featuring
more than one hundred fitness retailers, exhibits and interactive clinics.
For more information about Rock 'n' Roll San Diego, please visit
Competitor.com or follow @runrocknroll on Twitter.