Does Meb Keflezighi still think about Boston?
What could’ve been in 2010 had a leg injury not slowed his training? Or, perhaps, what almost was in 2006, when he finished third, just two-and-a-half minutes behind eventual four-time winner, Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot.
“Do I still think about Boston?” Keflezighi asks back Friday morning while in a conference room at Back Bay’s , a mere few hundred feet from the Boylston Street, blue-and-yellow finish line.
“Let me show you something.”
Keflezighi reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone. He immediately flips to a self-taken photograph of Kenmore Square’s iconic “Citgo” sign, well-known to Boston marathoners as the one-mile-to-go mark.
“That’s the view from my hotel room,” he says, “so, yes, I still think about Boston.”
Keflezighi was in town, along with fellow London-bound marathoner Ryan Hall and former Boston Marathon winner, Wayland High School’s Alberto Salazar, to speak to and run with a group of John Hancock employees Thursday who are running the upcoming Boston Marathon for charity.
On Friday morning, Keflezighi was at the Lenox Hotel shooting a commercial for Generation UCAN, a sports energy drink that he endorses, and, later that night, he planned to be at the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks game at the TD Garden.
Life has been busy for Keflezighi since his recent, Jan. 14 win at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trial in Houston (Hall was second, Abdi Abdirahman third). But, it has also been good.
“I’m enjoying it,” Keflezighi said, “and I’m starting to feel better, recovered from the trials.”
At 36, Keflezighi, who will soon be a three-time Olympian, was the oldest American ever to win the marathon trial. He did so in a personal best time of 2:09:08, or roughly 4:55 mile pace, and on a short recovery from the ING New York City Marathon in November, where he was sixth.
Keflezighi’s resume is impressive, an Olympic silver medal in the marathon at the 2004 Athens games, a New York City Marathon win in 2009, and a one-time American Record in the 10,000-meter, 27:31.98 (4:23 mile pace).
However, one thing is still missing.
“Boston’s the one thing that’s not on my resume,” said Keflezighi, who trains with coach Bob Larsen in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
No American man has won Boston since Greg Meyer did so in 1983. But then again, no American man had medaled in the Olympic marathon before Keflezighi since 1976, nor won New York City since 1982.
For now, Keflezighi said all of his energy is focused on representing his country in London, but after that, who knows.
“I am craving [Boston],” he said, “and, if the right opportunity presents itself, I’ll go for it.”