On Meb and Baldini
Near mile 22, Meb and Italy's Stefano Baldini were running together, trying to chase down Brazil's Vanderlei de Lima after having dropped Kenya's Paul Tergat. Meb turns to Baldini and says "Endiamo primo e segundo" (Let's get first and second). As described in the book (p. 129), "His eyes bugged out. He looked absolutely shocked, like he was thinking, Is this black dude in a USA uniform actually speaking Italian to me?"
Shortly thereafter, de Lima was pushed from the course by a deranged spectator. The spectator was pulled away from him by other fans, but de Lima was doubtless slowed and rattled a bit by the incident. He was quickly caught by Baldini and then by Keflezighi.
As the race neared its conclusion, my son was chanting, "Go Meb, Go!" As well as the race turned out, I think my favorite part was when de Lima ran onto the track and "did the airplane" running with his arms outstretched and running a swerving pattern on the track having beaten the odd circumstances that had delayed his arrival. His face reflected pure joy, and I consider it one of the most special moments in sports.
The book, which is an easy read (it was co-written by sportswriter Dick Patrick) provides lots of insights into Meb's success. While I haven't yet finished it, it's clear to me that this book will be a well-loved addition to a runner's library. It will likely be especially valuable to young runners as it contains lots of important distance running lessons presented without being preachy.