Meb Keflezighi knows that starting last in Friday’s AJC Peachtree Road Race and trying to pass 22,500 runners to raise funds for the Kilometer Kids is going to be a challenge.
But winning an ElliptiGO race on Thursday against corporate executives and Atlanta community leaders? That was supposed to be as easy as a cool-down run.
Except that his rivals considered it their one chance to say they beat the winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon. So much for easy.
Going out fast from “lane three,” Roy Neill, external affairs and marketing director for the office of the lieutenant governor, stormed uphill from the corner of 10th and Monroe, building his lead until he crossed the finish line in triumph. Finishing second was Crash Clark of WXIA-TV’s traffic team. Keflezighi came in fourth.
“These guys are tough!” said Keflezighi afterward. “I gave it my shot.”
“If we had been running, this wouldn’t have happened,” added Neill, a walk-on 400-meter hurdler at Florida State University during his track days.
The ElliptiGO race was all in good—if competitive—fun to get everyone warmed up for the Kilometer Kids Charity Chase in Friday’s AJC Peachtree Road Race, in which Keflezighi will start as the very last runner and attempt to pass 22,500 runners, raising $75,000 for Kilometer Kids, Atlanta Track Club’s youth running program.
In addition to Neill and Clark, corporate and community leaders on the starting line included:
Betty Amend, vice president of human resources, UPS;
Shannon Hennessey, public affairs and communications director, East Region, The Coca-Cola Company;
Bryan Koepp, senior vice president/senior wealth planner, PNC Wealth Management;
Mark Medici, vice president of audience, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and
Dr. Al Soltan, Georgia Cancer Specialists, Northside Hospital.
Rich Kenah, executive director of Atlanta Track Club, was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon this year when the shouts of “USA! USA!” started rolling in waves up Boylston Street as Keflezighi approached the finish line to become the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983.
Calling it one of the most incredible moments in sport he had ever witnessed, Kenah said before yesterday’s event: “We wanted to do everything we could to bring Meb here to celebrate with us on the Fourth of July.”
For more information, including how to donate to the Kilometer Kids Charity Chase, visit charitychaseforkids.org. Additional information about the AJC Peachtree Road Race can be found at peachtreeroadrace.org.