Q&A with New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi

In 2009, Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win the New York City Marathon since 1982. He finished the 26.2 mile race in a personal-best time of two hours, nine minutes, 15 seconds. That means he was running more than 12 miles per hour! Keflezighi is preparing to defend his New York City Marathon title on November 7, but he also took some time out to help Jared, the Subway sandwich guy, train for his first marathon. SIKIDS.com got the speedy Keflezighi to slow down long enough to answer a couple of questions.

Q. What advice did you have for Jared the Subway guy?
A. Well he’s done 20 miles already [in training]. I just told him to be patient, and he’ll be ready to do well on November 7. Six more miles is not that bad. He looked great.

Q. What do you remember from your first marathon?
A. My first marathon was the same as Jared. I did the New York City Marathon, in 2002. I went a little faster than I wanted to through 1st Avenue. I wasn’t patient enough. But I definitely learned a lot from that previous years so I was able to finish really well last year.

Q. What type of nutrition regimen do you follow when you’re training for a marathon?
A. I try to eat protein on my hard days and more carbohydrates on my easier days. I’ve been eating Subway since I was in college, and I ate a Subway turkey sandwich before I broke the American record [in the 10,000 meters] in 2001.

Q. What will it take for you to repeat as New York City Marathon champion this year?
A. You can’t play defense in our sport so whoever is the fittest will win. I’m trying to be as fit as last year or fitter. I feel good. I ran 27 miles on Sunday before I got here so I think I’m doing really well.

2009 New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi is helping Jared the Subway Guy prepare for this year's race.

Keflezighi is helping Jared the Subway Guy train for the New York City Marathon.


Q. What makes the New York City Marathon special?
A. The New York City Marathon is great because of the crowds. You people 10-15 deep on each street chanting “U-S-A” or “Meb” or just cheering you on. That’s very spectacular to be part of. It was very sweet last year to be able to win the race wearing that USA jersey.

Q. How many miles per week do you run when you are training for a marathon?
A. Over 100, but now I’m doing about 120 for another three weeks and then the last three weeks [before the race] I’ll back off to get my body ready.

Q. After a race do you splurge on anything?
A. The recovery starts right after you step on the finish line. But there’s some things that you crave whether it’s chocolate or dessert and and you treat yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. One day is not going to kill you.

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