Lee University To Welcome Meb For Great Strides Weekend

Thursday, February 15, 2018 - by Naudia O’Steen, Lee University

Lee University will welcome Olympic-medalist and America’s most decorated distance runner, Meb Keflezighi, to both run the 65 Roses 5K and speak at the 18th annual Great Strides Weekend on March 22-24.

Meb, named the “The Most Influential Person in Running” by Runner’s World Magazine in 2015, is the only runner to have won the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon, and an Olympic medal. He is a 23-time national champion, a four-time Olympic athlete, and the oldest marathon runner in U.S. Olympic history. 

“Our region has never had such a decorated runner come and participate in an event,” said Dr. Bill Estes, race director. “We are honored Meb accepted our invitation and humbled to host him. What a special year this will be for everyone participating in Great Strides.”  

During his time in Cleveland, Meb will participate in a variety of events from local school visits to a Friday evening dinner. 

On Thursday, March 22, Meb will speak at the Lee University chapel service in the Dixon Center at 10:40 a.m. This event is non-ticketed, free, and open to the public. 

On Friday, March 23, Meb is scheduled to join Arnold Elementary School for its annual Cystic Fibrosis Walk at 2 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., he will speak at a local high school and college running clinic. This event will include local cross country and tracks teams, where he will address the athletes and answer questions. 

There will also be several events allowing the community to meet Meb. 

On Friday night at 6:30 p.m., Meb will share his personal story at the 65 Roses Dinner. The price of entry will include dinner, VIP race entry, a signed race bib, and a photo with Meb. Seating is limited. 

While regular race entry is $30, there are a few VIP race entries available for the morning of the 65 Roses 5K. These VIP tickets include a chance to meet with Meb, a signed race bib, and a photo. Cost for this entry is $50. 

The first 1,000 entries will also receive a Boco hat.

In addition to running the 65 Roses 5K on Saturday morning, Meb will open the race, shoot the starting pistol, and hand out the awards at the end of the race. 

Meb came to America as a refugee from the East African nation of Eritrea when he was a child and began running in middle school. He went on to attend and compete for University of California, Los Angeles, where he won four NCAA championship titles. 

Meb, now retired, ran his final career race in the 2017 New York Marathon, where he finished 11th place. 

He has appeared on the “Late Show” with David Letterman, USA Today, NBC, CNN, Fox, ESPN, and has been featured in the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and The Washington Post, among others. 

Along with being a runner, Meb is an author, motivational speaker, humanitarian, and mentor. 

The Great Strides Weekend at Lee University raises funds and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This year’s Great Strides will surpass one million dollars raised for the Foundation over the past 18 years. 

Ralph Buckner Funeral Home & Crematory serves as the presenting sponsor for the 65 Roses 5K. 

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a nonprofit donor-supported organization dedicated to attacking cystic fibrosis from every angle. Its focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF, and ultimately find a cure. In the last 30 years, the life expectancy of a child with CF has doubled, and research is happening daily to find a cure and perfect drugs available to those living with CF. 

For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit https://www.cff.org/.  For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation team opportunities or event sponsorship for Great Strides, contact Jolly Johnson at jjohnson@cff.org.   

For more information about Meb, visit https://marathonmeb.com/.   

To register for the race, VIP entry, or dinner with Meb, visit http://leeuniversity.edu/cf/


From left, Bill Estes, race director, and Ralph Buckner, Jr. of Ralph Buckner Funeral Home & Crematory
From left, Bill Estes, race director, and Ralph Buckner, Jr. of Ralph Buckner Funeral Home & Crematory

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