Elite Marathoner Meb Keflezighi Forced to Withdraw from Boston Marathon

But the frustrating setback may allow Keflezighi to extend his career.

Meb Keflezighi

Keflezighi in the 2010 Boston Marathon. Photo via Flickr

Meb Keflezighi, a three-time Olympic marathoner who won the 2009 New York City Marathon and was the 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist, was planning on breaking his personal record at the Boston Marathon. Instead, he’ll be watching from the sidelines.

Keflezighi, considered one of the United States’ best distance runners, was forced to withdraw from the Marathon after he injured his calf muscle in a last-ditch effort to avoid a dog that ran across his path while training. The accident only compounds the frustration of not being able to run November’s New York City Marathon after it was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. In a Runner’s World article, Keflezighi says:

“I’m pretty pissed off,” Keflezighi said about the outside influences that ruined both buildups. “Just because I’m very thorough. My whole point was to get to the start line healthy. If it was my doing – if I did something drastic or tried to rush it or did something stupid – I’d be, ‘Oh, man.’ But it’s not my own doing. It’s misfortune.”

Strangely, this is not the first time a dog has injured Keflezighi prior to a race. He suffered minor training set backs or injuries due to dogs before the 2004 Olympics, the 2005 London Marathon, and the 2012 New York City Marathon.

Though this canine injury may be the most dramatic for Keflezighi, the withdrawal from Boston does come with a silver lining—it may keep Keflezighi, who turns 38 next month, out of retirement. “I think I will go on in 2014,” he says in the Runner’s World report. “After that, I don’t know. Maybe two more years to the Olympics.”
  Keflezighi plans to strengthen his calf with shorter races and diligent training, the article says.

And, the article says, the man who had high hopes for Boston will be back. The report quotes Keflezighi:

“My goals were to stay healthy and get to Boston, run a personal best and, third, to win it. None of it is going to happen. That’s the reality we live in.
 I will bounce back.”