Meb was already a hero to many before making marathon history one week ago at the Boston Marathon, becoming the first American to take the Boston title in 31 years. His championship finish came at a time when we needed an American win to heal, to lift, to prove "Boston Strong." So when this humble hero arrived at Garmin headquarters on Friday to help kick off events for the Garmin Marathon In the Land of Oz, he had quite a fan following. A crowd of associates gathered to greet Meb when he arrived with his brother and agent, Hawi. Meb took the time to shake hands and thank each person there, giving them a chance to see his champion's medal up close.
Next up was a meeting with our fitness engineering team, followed by a press conferences with the local media.
He then conducted a Q&A session to a packed house of Garmin associates, media and guests, some of them fresh off their own Boston Marathon races. The rest of his day was packed with autograph signings, more media interviews, photo and video sessions. We'll soon be sharing insights from Meb about using some of the advanced features of the Forerunner 620, the watch he was wearing during his historic Boston Marathon win. Friday evening, Meb was the featured speaker at the pasta dinner for Garmin Marathon participants. Attendees came hungrier for inspiration than carbs that night, and meeting Meb was part of their game plan to get charged up for the next day’s race. Meb continually gave thanks to his sponsors, fans and family and he graciously granted requests for autographs long into the evening. A couple of runners even had Meb sign their Garmin Forerunner watches.
The race attracts more costumed runners every year, from Dorothys sprinting in gingham jumpers and red racing flats to tin men, tin ladies, and all variety of lions, witches and munchkins.
Along the race route, many of the aid stations were manned by Garmin associates dispensing encouragement right along with the drinks. At the 23-mile aid station, a team from marketing put the Garmin VIRB action camera to work, capturing images and video of runners approaching their final miles. For many of the Garmin volunteers, this race is the perfect chance to support the runners who’ve tracked every mile of their training with a Garmin device.
Thank you to all who participated, volunteered, cheered and helped welcome runners to have a wicked good time at this year’s race. Best of luck to all Heartland 39.3 Series half marathon runners who will be completing their third race in the series at Running with the Cows on May 10!