Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Is Meb cashing in his running cred chips?

American elite distance running is interesting to follow.  With so few athletes to root for, we latch on to anyone who has the faintest glimmer of success or triumph over adversity. Or, in the absence of either of those, is marketable enough (Let’s be honest…. read: has a pretty face) to put on a magazine cover.  While Americans only have a handful of men and women that could come close to challenging the highest levels of world-class elite marathon times (I won’t dare list them here at risk of forgetting one), one has been doing it rather consistently for the last 4-6 years: Meb Keflezighi. He isn’t the fastest, he certainly isn’t the youngest, but he is a workhorse of the “difficult” Major Marathons.

As such, it came as a bit of a surprise yesterday when I heard that Meb was hired as the “VP of Running” of competitor group who puts on the Rock and Roll marathon series of races.

Elite running is BUSY. Meb posted a YouTube of an average day for him. Spoiler: IT IS NON STOPPED. How can he have time to consistently train like he needs to stay at the top of his game?  Every article I read had Meb quoted with saying that he is laser focused on the 2016 Olympics. But, I can’t help but be a bit cautious that he is bending his focus away from running and more towards whatever it is that will pay the bills AFTER running.  In fact, he had previously flirted with retirement prior to his Boston win.

Really Meb? No way do I believe you ride this...
Now, I certainly can’t fault him for making a big money grab after his massive win at Boston (if that is what this is) or starting to set himself up for a post running career.  At 39 years old, he is easily 5 years older than any of his “real” competitive peers, so thinking about his twilight years has to be top of mind.  Additionally, as a friend Lauren pointed out, Meb is currently juggling seemingly 15 sponsors (giving most healthy living bloggers a run for their money... zing!!!) so adding one more iron in the fire isn’t THAT big of a deal? Maybe?

I personally really hope that Meb keeps his foot on the running gas pedal. Granted, I do realize that he isn’t a robot and can’t do this forever. Unless he IS a robot. In that case, all hail robot overlord Meb. But, part of the reason I’m somewhat bummed to hear about the new “job” is that I’m a big fan of his and would hate to see him hang up his Sketchers. Having met him a few times he really is as genuine as everyone says – so I just hate to see one of the good guys go. That said, hopefully he is able to do a bit of good work with the Rock and Roll races and swap out a few high school garage bands with more water stops or better beer at the finish line.

Thoughts? Am I blowing this out of proportion or is this the beginning of the end?

9 comments:

giraffy said...

Well. I love Meb, but I hate Competitior with the heat of a thousand suns, so this is troubling for me.

A friend of mine has seen Meb on that thing in San Diego, so I think he really DOES use it.

fueledbylolz.com said...

You had me at the healthy living blogger comment.

T-Rex Runner said...

I don't understand. Where is the poop joke? There is always a poop joke.

Gracie said...

Nah, Meb's classy. He has to eat, so I can't blame him for seeking sponsors, but he's not going to be going around in a sparkle skirt any time soon. Much more questionable is running has-been Kara Goucher joining "the flock" and her other sponsor shenanigans. She's definitely done.

Sue's Ramblings said...

I really really hope Meb keeps on running and inspiring the rest of us and won't allow this "new job" detract from what he has done best. Maybe this "new job" is one of the platform he can use to inspire everyone. Oh I don't know. Let's hope for the best.

Angela said...

It'll be interesting to see. I feel like with professional, working athletes, sometimes titles like this with organizations are more of an official thing than indicative of the same level of responsibilities someone might have otherwise. I could see them doing it to create an official, public connection, with Meb acting more in an advisory capacity until after the Olympics, then retiring for real & going full-time into the new gig.

Carla Birnberg said...

SO INTERESTING as Im a nonrunner and wondered the same thing.

One Crazy Penguin said...

It's kind of hard to fault him for setting himself up for a solid base once he does finish his pro running career. I think he's certainly capable of balancing all of this at the same time for the next couple of years. He's Meb. That man works magic!

Nelly said...

I was surprised to read that blurb about Meb being VP of Competitor, seemed really odd. Why not just call him a consultant or something? No way he has enough time to contribute meaningfully to a company as a VP.

And I agree with Gracie - Kara Goucher is grasping for straws now. 2007 World Championship bronze feels like an eternity away. Though she is right to grasp for as much money as she can get her hands on, since so many people apparently feel connected to her through her book and what not.