Lee University will welcome Olympic-medalist and America’s greatest ever distance runner, Meb Keflezighi, to both run and speak at the 18th annual Great Strides weekend March 2018.
Meb will speak at Lee University on Friday evening, March 23, and run in the 65 Roses 5K on Saturday morning, March 24.
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 in the past 18 years.
“Lee is thrilled to welcome Meb to campus to be a part of Great Strides,” said Dr. Bill Estes, dean of the college of education and race coordinator. “Getting to run alongside Meb is the opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s even more exciting that Meb will be here when Lee’s Great Strides event breaks the million dollar mark for fundraising.”
Meb, named “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 is also the oldest marathon runner in U.S. Olympic history.
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.
“Lee University has been a remarkable supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation the last 18 years,” said Meb. “I am proud of the work they have done and am honored to be part of the 2018 Great Strides weekend. I've heard great things about the community in Cleveland, and I'll be there to encourage everyone in Cleveland and the surrounding areas to keep up the great work and raise the next million dollars.”
He has appeared on the “Late Show” with David Letterman, USA Today, NBC, CNN, Fox, ESPN, and he has been featured in 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.
Meb started the MEB Foundation in 2010, which is guided by the ideal of “Maintaining Excellent Balance” in life. He believes that is a key to success “not only as an athlete, but also as a friend and leader.”
The MEB Foundation works to empower youth and families to “Maintain Excellence Balance” by providing tools and resources for a healthy lifestyle, engaging children in academics, and providing opportunities for children to learn life skills through sports.
Along with running in the race, Meb is scheduled on Friday to visit Arnold Elementary, put on a clinic for local high school and college track and cross country teams, and speak about his personal story.
Runner of all abilities are invited to run alongside Meb during the Saturday 5K.
Anyone attending the Friday evening dinner to hear Meb speak will receive a VIP race entry included in the dinner costs. VIP entries receive extra SWAG including a photo with Meb and a signed bib.
The Great Strides weekend is an annual event held by Lee University. Last year the weekend brought in over 1,000 participants and raised $79, 122 to bring the grand total over the past 17 years to $934, 935. In addition to the 5K, the weekend also features the Great Strides walk and 1K Fun Run.
The USATF-certified 5K course begins and ends at the Paul Conn Student Union on Lee University’s campus. The race winds through the Cleveland Historic Area and the downtown area.
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 Meb or his foundation, visit https://marathonmeb.com/.
For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit https://www.cff.org/.
For more information about 65 Roses 5K, visit www.leeuniversity.edu/cf.