By Chris Duncan, ASSOCIATED PRESS
HOUSTON — Meb Keflezighi remembered to wear his nasal strip this time, then made some history at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.
The Eritrea-born Keflezighi won Saturday’s race in a personal-best time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 8 seconds to qualify for his third Olympics. At 36, Keflezighi is the oldest winner of the trial and the first man to win the event and the New York marathon (2009) in his career.
The top American men’s and women’s distance runners competed in Houston for three marathon spots on each team that will represent the U.S. at the Summer Games.
Shalane Flanagan won the women’s race in an event-record time of 2:25.38. Running in only her second career marathon, the 30-year-old shaved more than three minutes off her previous personal best, set in her runner-up finish in New York in 2010.
“That’s encouraging,” said Flanagan, a bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters in Beijing.
Keflezighi, the silver medalist in the Athens marathon in 2004, was the only man entered Saturday who ran in the New York City Marathon in November.
He finished sixth with a personal-best time (2:09.13), then developed an infection in his left foot, the result of leaving a nasal strip in his shoe, part of his pre-race ritual.
He missed three weeks of training, and felt fortunate he was able to get ready for Houston in time.
“I made a dumb mistake,” he said, but on Saturday, ” I had (the nasal strip) on and yes, it helped me breathe better.”
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