Things haven’t been going Meb Keflezighi’s way so far in 2011. He missed out on a considerable amount of training in January due to a series of illnesses, derailing his participation in the USA Cross Country Championships in his hometown of San Diego. Then about a month ago, Meb revealed that the organizers of the Boston Marathon did not present an offer for him to participate in this year’s edition of the race despite being America’s most decorated marathoner of his generation.
Now it appears that Keflezighi is no longer sponsored by Nike. He ran in Sunday’s New York City Half Marathon in a white USA singlet that did not include Nike swoosh on it. Instead, the logos of his sponsors Sony, Generation UCAN, Foot Locker, and Power Bar are printed on the top of the kit.
Once again, it boggles my mind how Meb, the only U.S. marathoner in recent years to have won a championship medal and a major marathon, is getting no respect (at least financially) in the running community. His story of immigrating to American from Eritrea is not only inspirational on a personal level, but can be used as a sales pitch by shoe companies.
Now that he’s a free agent, look for some of the smaller companies like Brooks, New Balance, and Saucony to be licking their chops for the opportunity to sponsor Meb. He’s a star of the sport in America and deserved to be financially compensated like it.