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RRCA Adds Meb Kelfezighi as a Keynote Speaker for the 55th Annual RRCA National Convention

Keflezighi Joins Inspiring Speakers Bob Julyan and Brian “Iron Heart” Boyle

Arlington, VA - Since 1958, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) has gathered in different cities around the country for the RRCA National Convention. Each year, hundreds of runners, club leaders, event directors, and corporate supporters attend the RRCA Convention.  The 55th Annual RRCA Convention will be hosted in Albuquerque, NM from May 2-5, 2013.

The RRCA Convention is a great opportunity for running club leaders, race directors, fitness professionals, RRCA Certified Coaches, sponsors, running industry professionals and runners to come together to share information about best practices and to contribute to the national mission of the RRCA.

The RRCA Convention consists a two-day education program that outlines best practices for running events and clubs along with highlight trends and issues that face the running community.  The education program also includes continuing education opportunities for RRCA certified coaches and RRCA certified race directors.  Many social networking events are planned from group runs to cocktail receptions. The RRCA Convention concludes with the National Running Awards Banquet.

We are pleased to announce the following keynote speakers for the event:

Bob Julyan

The Albuquerque Road Runners are proud to present our featured speaker for the Friday Luncheon on May 3.

Julyan, a well-known New Mexico author and speaker, will present, “A brief history of running since the beginning of time, or at least since I was born, and other things my granddad didn’t teach me.” Julyan is the author of several books about New Mexico, including Place Names of New Mexico, Mountains of New Mexico, Wilderness Areas of New Mexico, and most recently a humorous novel about a dying small town on the High Plains.  Bob has been a runner for 45 years.  For many years he wrote the running column for the Albuquerque Journal, and as a result he, at one time, was on the membership rolls of nine running clubs in New Mexico

Meb Keflezighi
The RRCA is proud to present our featured speaker for the Saturday Luncheon on May 4.

On November 1, 2009, during the 40th running of the New York City Marathon, Mebrahtom Keflezighi, better known as just Meb, secured a place in history by becoming the first American since Alberto Salazar in 1982 to win the largest marathon in the world.  His journey to the pinnacle of distance running has been called one of the best illustrations of the American Dream.

Meb has a habit of making history.  In one of the most dramatic Olympic Marathons ever, Meb won a Silver Medal during the 2004 Olympics despite being ranked 39 out of 100 of the world’s best marathoners.  As the Silver Medal winner for the USA, Meb attracted new fans around the globe as he was awarded his Silver Medal in front on millions of viewers. Seventy days later, Meb would stun the track and field world by finishing second in the prestigious 2004 ING New York City marathon.

Meb has persevered through stints of injuries after college and an almost career-ending injury in the 2008 season to achieve remarkable success. Serious pelvic issues caused many to presume – prematurely – that Meb’s best running days were far behind him.  His P.R. performance in the 2011 New York City Marathon and, 69 days later, his glorious victory in the 2012 USA Olympic Trials – Marathon, affirmed his durability, his longevity, and his determination. He also became the oldest marathoner ever to win the U.S. Olympic trials, leading the men’s team into London. Meb would go on to be the only US finisher at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon with a phenomenal forth place finish.

Meb is the author of “Run To Overcome,” about his journey from humble beginnings in Eritrea to winning the New York City Marathon.  Meb is also the founder of the MEB Foundation (Maintaining Excellent Balance) to promote health, education and fitness. For long distance running fans, Meb is a role model who has rejuvenated interest in the sport. To the American public, Meb symbolizes what is possible when we take advantage of the resources and opportunities around us.

Brian Boyle aka “Iron Heart”
The RRCA is proud to present our featured speaker for the Saturday Awards Banquet on May 4.

It was a horrific car crash. On the way home from swim practice in 2004, eighteen-year old Brian Boyle’s future changed in an instant when a dump truck plowed into his vehicle. He was airlifted to a shock-trauma hospital. He had lost sixty percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. He was placed in a medically-induced coma. When Brian finally emerged from the coma two months later, he had no memory of the accident. He could see and hear, but not move or talk. Unable to communicate to his doctors, nurses, or frantic parents, he heard words like “vegetable” and “nursing home.” If he lived, doctors predicted he might not be able to walk again, and certainly not swim. Then, miraculously, Brian clawed his way back to the living. First blinking his eyelids, then squeezing a hand, then smiling, he gradually emerged from his locked-in state. The former swimmer and bodybuilder had lost one hundred pounds.

In 2007 Brian Boyle staged what many consider to be one of the greatest comebacks in sports history when he crossed the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman just three years after leaving the Intensive Care Unit. In 2008, he competed in the 2008 Foster Grant Ironman70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida and Men’s Health magazine named Boyle one of its twenty heroes. In 2009, he published his first book, Iron Heart, and he was presented the spokesperson of the year award from the American Red Cross for his contributions.

In the fall of 2009, Brian ran in five marathons back to back in a little over five weeks in Baltimore, Marine Corps., New York, Richmond, and Philadelphia. Runner’s World featured his story and this running quest in their April 2010 issue. In 2010, he graduated Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  He was awarded the Spokesperson of the Year award for the second year in a row for 2010 and also made his very first blood donation at the hospital that brought him back to life.

His story has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s Today Show, ESPN, and several other programs throughout the country that have earned Emmy nominations and have won several awards. His journey of courage and determination has touched the hearts of many and his story and the message it carries has been celebrated around the world.

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