On a perfect autumn morning in the Bay Area, Eritrean-American Olympic medalists Meb Keflezighi cruised to victory at the 2011 Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. Keflezighi delighted a cheering crowd of well-wishers along the 13.1-mile route by winning handily in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 17 seconds–over two minutes ahead of runner-up Giliat Ghebray (1:03:38) from Union City.
Keflezighi led a lead pack of five runners through an opening mile of 4:35. At mile 3 the 204 Olympic Marathon silver medalist picked up the pace, running a series of sub-4:40 miles to open up a sizable lead on the rest of the field, one he held all the way to the finish line.
“We ran a pretty quick first mile of 4:35 and then after that 4:50 and after that I picked it up,” said Keflezighi, who won for the third straight time in San Jose.
“I was making good pace. It is kind of tough to run on your own sometimes, but I am happy to be here and get a good tuneup. It couldn’t have any better. A lot people were cheering ‘Go Meb’ and it was just awesome. My Mom is here and my brother lives here, a lot of the people are aware of what I have done and it’s nice to have the course coming back with the crowd. Running back the energy was awesome.”
It paid off in a solid tune up for Keflezighi, who also won the 2009 New York City Marathon–the first American do so in 27 years.
“I run to win, which means challenge myself and don’t hold back. It was good today,” added Keflezighi, who is preparing for the ING New York Marathon in November. “I feel like I gave my best effort to be able to keep going, stay healthy and finish strong. People have different goals and different aspirations to go and with 10,000 out here running it’s awesome, and it’s awesome to see people fit and strong and it was a beautiful California weather day.”
One of California’s fastest road races, the Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon is the site of both the men’s and women’s half marathon records for the State of California.
Runners from all 50 states and 14 countries participated in this morning’s race, including a group of California’s fastest runners, with ten athletes qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials in January. Three-time Super Bowl Champion and race founder Roger Craig completed his sixth straight San Jose race, along with San Jose resident and soccer star Brandi Chastain.
2011 Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon Results
1. Meb Keflezighi, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:02:17
2. Giliat Ghebray, Union City, CA, 1:03:38
3. Sergio Reyes, Palmdale, CA, 1:04:20
4. Moses Waweru, Sun Prairie, WI, 1:04:31
5. Daniel Tapia, Castroville, CA, 1:04:41