Soon after Meb Keflezighi won Monday’s Boston Marathon, Stephan Shay sent out a congratulatory note to his friend.
“Meb! Unbelievably stellar race!” he tweeted.
Just below that post was a 2004 picture showing Stephan, his older brother Ryan, Keflezighi and Deena Kastor on a training run in Mammoth Lakes, California — just days after Stephan graduated from Central Lake.
“I have that picture right by my bed,” Stephan said. “Meb actually has a similar picture and he says he keeps it in his bedroom as well. That’s pretty cool.
“It (picture) brings back lots of good memories. That was a fun time for me. I was just in awe the whole time, training with all those bigshots in Mammoth.”
Keflezighi went on to win the silver and Kastor the bronze that summer in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
On Monday, Keflezighi became the first American to win the men’s marathon in Boston since Greg Meyer in 1983. He also was the oldest since 1931. Keflezighi turns 39 in two weeks. He celebrated by running a personal-best 2:08:37.
“It’s an amazing feat at any point in your life, but it’s even more incredible that he did it at almost 39,” Stephan said.
“It’s always fun to see him overcome the odds. It seems like he’s always the underdog. I don’t think he’s ever surprised by his accomplishments, but at almost 39, I think he might have surprised himself Monday.”
Stephan’s father, Joe, admitted he was “a little surprised,” given Keflezighi’s age.
“I knew he could do it,” Joe said. “He always seems to come through in the big races. But at (almost) 39, this is a testament to how well he’s taken care of his body.”
Ryan Shay, who was an Olympic caliber runner in his own right, used to train with Keflezighi. Ryan Shay tragically collapsed and died during the 2007 New York City Marathon.