Keflezighi to Headline Bellin Run Kickoff Events

February 18, 2016

Distance running icon to run 2016 Olympic marathon for Team USA 

Fresh off his Feb. 13 qualification for the 2016 U.S. Olympic marathon team, American running icon Meb Keflezighi has been announced as the featured speaker for the 2016 Bellin Run Kids for Running and Corporate Challenge kickoff events.

Keflezighi (“Kef-lez-ghee”) will address audiences during the Bellin Run Corporate Challenge Kickoff breakfast and Bellin Run Kids for Running kickoff dinner, both on Tuesday, Feb. 23 in the Legends Room at Lambeau Field.

Known to the running world simply as “Meb,” Keflezighi captured the hearts of millions when he won the Boston Marathon in 2014, the year after the bombings that shook that event and the country as a whole. The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be Keflezighi’s fourth — most recently, he won the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials and finished fourth in the marathon at that year’s games in London. He is the only athlete in history to win the New York Marathon, Boston Marathon and an Olympic medal (a silver at the 2004 games) — this despite the fact that he had never run a mile until middle school.

This year’s Bellin Run will be Keflezighi’s third. He placed third overall each of the last two years (in 29:58 and 30:06, respectively) — and then stood at the finish line to congratulate countless local runners as they crossed.

“We love Meb — for what he’s done for the sport of running, for the level of excitement he brings to our event and for the all-around great guy he is,” said executive race director Randy Van Straten. “We’d be thrilled to have him kick off our Bellin Run programs under any circumstance, but having him do so as a recently qualified Olympian is truly incredible. What a way to begin our milestone 40th anniversary year.” 

The Feb. 23 kickoff events are for team captains for the Bellin Run’s two largest programs. Last year, the Corporate Challenge had teams from 265 area companies with more than 7,100 team members, while the Kids for Running program drew nearly 2,000 students, staff and family members from 69 elementary schools.

A native of Eritrea, Keflezighi moved with his family to California in 1987, graduating from UCLA and becoming a U.S. citizen in 1998. Today, he lives in San Diego with his wife Yordanos and their three daughters. When not running, he is a motivational speaker dedicated to helping others fulfill their potential physically, professionally, personally and spiritually. He also oversees the MEB (Maintaining Excellent Balance) Foundation, which promotes youth health, education and fitness.

The 2016 Bellin Run will take place on Saturday, June 11. Visit bellinrun.com for more information about the event and its Kids for Running and Corporate Challenge programs.  Anyone interested in starting a Corporate Challenge team at his or her workplace should email corporatechallenge@bellin.org for additional information.

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