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Olympic Medalist Keflezighi Gets Personal with Gulf Coast Runners

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama—Not many recreational athletes can say they shot hoops with LeBron James, caught passes from Drew Brees or took a swing against Justin Verlander. But the runners in the Kaiser Realty Coastal Half-Marathon, the RRCA AL State Championship event, on Saturday can say they were in a race with Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi.

For a little while, at least.

“We have a very unique sport,” Keflezighi said, “because we all participate in the same thing, whether it’s a mile, a 5K or a 10K. Somebody here just told me, ‘Hey, I ran the New York City Marathon with you in 2009.’ You’re not going to hear somebody say they played basketball with an NBA player or in other sports. I might finish minutes before them or hours before them, but it’s still the same distance, the same competition.”

Keflezighi ran the first mile and a half or so of the half-marathon before pulling off to cheer on the runners of that race and the 5-kilometer event that followed, then heading back to the Orange Beach Sportsplex to sign autographs and congratulate the winners.

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