American Wins Boston Marathon for First Time in 31 Years

April 21, 2014

Meb Keflezighi has won the 2014 Boston Marathon, becoming the first American male to win since 1983. Born in Eritrea during its 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia, Meb arrived in the U.S. as a 12-year old, having never previously competed in distance running. 

From an interview Meb gave to Asylum Access in June 2013:

My father led the journey when he left Eritrea during its war of independence from Ethiopia in 1981. My father escaped to Sudan, found a job within days of his arrival and after a couple of years, made his way to Italy. After a couple of years in Italy, my father saved and borrowed enough money to bring his wife and 6 kids to Italy. This was in 1986, in the middle of war, famine and drought in Eritrea. With my dad in Sudan and Italy paving the road for his wife and kids, our journey was a lot smoother than other refugees. Eventually, in 1987, we came to San Diego, CA. This journey from Eritrean to the USA was almost a two-year process, but in this day and age it is considered an expedited journey. My father dealt with all of the headaches and frustrations that refugees have to deal with, paperwork, redtape, etc. He was willing to deal with these challenges because of a vision he had for his family. Today, we are happy that his vision has become a reality.

Meb now works on refugee support services with Asylum Access:

Unfortunately, refugees are often overlooked in our world. For some time they are almost without a country to call home…I am who I am because of many people that helped me and my family along the way. The best gift anyone can give is access, access to health, education, rights, opportunities, etc. That is what Asylum Access provides and why I am happy to support their efforts.

See more about Asylum Access here.

Meb in the 2009 London Marathon (Creative Commons, Photo by Julian Mason).

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