2004 Olympic silver medalist will be honored at Sept. 22 VIP event

Akron, Ohio (May 3, 2016) – The Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation hasannounced that Meb Keflezighi is the recipient of the 2016 Akron Marathon Ambassador Award presented by Westfield Bank. Keflezighi is the only person to win an Olympic medal, the New York Marathon and the Boston Marathon.

The 2004 Olympic silver medalist, Keflezighi and his family came to America in 1987 to escape the fighting in East Africa. He went on to win four NCAA titles while at UCLA and recently made his fourth Olympic team in February at the age of 40. Keflezighi won the 2009 ING New York City Marathon, and crossed the finish line first at the 2014 Boston Marathon, becoming the first American male to win since 1983. His career includes a number of titles in the 15k, 12k cross country and 10,000 meter U.S. championships, and he held the U.S. record in the 10,000 meters (27:13.98) from 2001-10. In October 2015, Runner’s World Magazine named Meb “The Most Influential Person in Running” noting that his “universal appeal only begins with his racing.”

“It is truly an honor to recognize one of the top runners in the world with this year’s Ambassador Award,” said Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation Trustee Dave Hunter. “Meb’s world class performances and longevity suggest he is one of the greatest American marathoners of all time. He continues to be an inspiration to the next generation of American runners. It will be wonderful to honor him during our marathon race weekend shortly after he becomes the first American ever to compete in three Olympic marathons.”

The ninth annual Ambassador Award will be presented at an invitation-only VIP Reception on Thursday, Sept. 22 at Greystone Hall. This marks the third year Westfield Bank has served as the presenting sponsor of the award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions and lasting impacts to the sport of running. Past Ambassadors include Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Kathrine Switzer, Bill Rodgers, Amby Burfoot, Hal Higdon, Craig Masback and Creigh Kelley.

Keflezighi will also be on hand at the Health & Fitness Expo presented by Summa Health and SummaCare on Friday, Sept. 23, where he’ll meet with runners and sign autographs in the Official Merchandise Store.

“Westfield Bank is proud to sponsor the Akron Marathon’s Ambassador Award,” said Westfield Bank Chairman and CEO Jon Park. “It’s great to be able to recognize a person of Meb’s caliber and who means so much to so many people.”

Registration for all three Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series events opened in January with incentives geared toward running multiple events. More than 900 people have already signed up to run the entire series. Registration is available at AkronMarathon.org.

The 2016 race dates for the second running of the Akron Marathon Race Series are as follows: June 25 (National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile), Aug. 13 (Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k) and Sept. 24 (FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay & Kids Fun Run). The dates were developed to help guide runners through a typical training schedule.