POY Alumni: Keflezighi's marathon eve tips

Can 1993-94 Gatorade California Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year Meb Keflezighi (left) win his second New York City Marathon in three years? Reuters

Apparently it isn’t all roadwork that makes 36-year-old Meb Keflezighi a contender to win his second New York City Marathon this Sunday. The 1993-94 Gatorade California Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year relies on a core-strengthening routine that he reveals in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated.

Keflezighi won the 2009 NYC marathon, becoming the first American male to break the tape at that event in 27 years. At the 2008 Beijing Games, his silver was the first marathon medal by an American man since Frank Shorter in 1976.

As a high school senior at San Diego, Keflezighi doubled in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the 1994 California State Meet, breaking the tape in 4:07.67 and 8:58.11. The previous fall, he took second at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, finishing 12 seconds behind Colorado’s Adam Goucher.

Keflezighi spent much of his childhood in his native Eritrea during that country’s protracted war for independence from neighboring Ethiopia. Keflezighi’s father ultimately emigrated to Italy and his son, the 5-foot-7, 127-pound distance-running talent, joined him before the family came to America in 1987. Keflezighi became a U.S. citizen in 1998.

A multi-time All-American at UCLA, Keflezighi won four NCAA championships during the 1996-97 season: the cross-country crown, the 10,000 meters outdoors and the 5000-meter indoor and outdoor titles in track. He also won the USA Cross Country Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2009.

Sunday’s start time for the professional men’s race field is 9:40 a.m.