Meb’s 1:30 Pace Group | Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon


Meet the runners who ran with Meb’s 1:30 half marathon pace group at the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on June 1, 2014. Click on the runner images above to read their full stories.


Sara Gibson |Meb coached her to the finish line

Sara and her husband planned a visit to San Diego for their anniversary/birthday trip. Since Sara needed to fit in a long run for her upcoming triathlon,  the  Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon was the perfect training while on vacation.

During the last 2 miles of the race Sara’s asthma flared up and she was struggling to keep up the pace. Suddenly she heard fans cheering loudly as Meb’s pace group approached. Meb noticed that she was struggling, and yelled out, “You can do it!” Although Sara had not signed up to run with Meb, he encouraged her to join their pace group and coached her to the finish line. “Meb was trying to get me to relax and wouldn’t let me fall off pace of the group,” she recalls.  Sara crossed the finish line holding hands with Meb in 1:29.20. Since returning home to Mississippi, Sara has become quite the celebrity with her Triathlon Group, Team Honey Badgers who have recently inducted Meb as their honorary member after seeing a photo of him doing the “Claw”. Sara plans to run Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans for the 4th time on January 25, 2015.

Meb Honey Badger

Patrick Gavin (Not Pictured) 

Had a 1-on-1 conversation with Meb

Patrick has come a long way to be able to run with Meb’s 1:30 pace group at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. A few years back, he started running as an outlet to stop smoking. He continued signing up for events to break the habit and has run 6 full marathons and 20 half marathons to date.

Patrick signed up to run his first Rock ‘n’ Roll event with Meb’s pace team, and had the chance to speak with him on the run.  “It was nice to ask him questions, he’s a really gracious guy,” he recalls. Meb encouraged  people running nearby to keep up with their pace group. Patrick finished with a time of 1:27:47.


Russell Friedberg |Got a High Five from Meb

Russell became hooked on racing after running his first half marathon in 2012 as a New Year’s resolution, and continued signing up for races.

As a 2014 North American TourPass holder he has completed 5 Rock ‘n’ Roll events this year, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. When Russell heard Meb was leading the 1:30 half marathon pace group, he decided to join the team so he could experience running with an elite athlete and the 2014 Boston Marathon Champion.

Russell recalls Meb giving him a high five at mile 7: “He told me I was doing a good job and gave me a high five, he took the time to acknowledge everyone in the running group,” he said. The collegial atmosphere motivated him to finish strong with a time of 1:29:11. To date, Russell has earned the Rock Star heavy medal and plans on running 7 more Rock ‘n’ Roll events, including the inaugural Remix Challenge in San Jose and Savannah this fall.


David Yemaneab | Listened to Meb’s running stories

David has always been a big fan of Meb’s, so when he found out he was pacing the 1:30 half marathon group at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon he signed up immediately.

Like many others, he wanted to see what it would be like to run with a world class athlete, and flew all the way from San Antonio to experience the rush. Meb told us stories about his training runs on the very same street corners as the half marathon course, and about the people he met along the way,” he recalls.  David crossed the finish line in 1:29:19 and plans to run his 4th Rock ‘n’ Roll event at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio in 2014.


Michael Flowers | Signed up to run with Meb

Michael thought is would be a great experience to run with the 2014 Boston Marathon winner at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, so he signed up for Meb’s 1:30 pace group.

“Meb talked about where he used to live in San Diego and pointed out his old training routes along the course,” Michael said. These personal conversations helped Michael keep focused on his goal and he crossed the finish line in 1:29:02. Michael plans to run more half marathons in 2014, including Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose, Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles, and the Strip at Night in Las Vegas.


Matthew Amick | 2014 Boston Marathon Runner

Since Matthew ran the 2014 Boston Marathon, he felt a special connection with Meb and decided it would be fun to sign up for the Shakeout run with Meb and join his 1:30 half marathon pace group at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego.

During the race, Matthew had a chance to ask Meb about his experience at the 2013 NYC Marathon, and learned that he still keeps in touch with Mike Cassidy, the runner who helped him to the finish line. Matthew recalls when their pace group began passing Sara Gibson, the runner who was struggling near the end of the race. “Sara’s face was PRICELESS when Meb encouraged her to keep pace with the group. She may have been hurting, but she had it in her to finish strong, and Meb knew it!” When Matthew crossed the finish line 1:29:13, Meb’s wife Yordanos gave him a hug and congratulated him on his finish.

Meet & Greet with Meb - RNR San Diego - 5-31-14

Sean Smith (Not Pictured)

Ran his 1st Rock ‘n’ Roll with Meb

Sean first began running in high school track and cross country just to hang out with friends, but didn’t give it much thought after he graduated.

It was when he moved to the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. territory located near Guam and the Philippines), that he rekindled his fondness for running after meeting a group of friends who were interested in marathons and triathlons. He fell in love with running and the camaraderie he developed with his running group.  

When he moved back to San Diego, he heard Meb was pacing the 1:30 half marathon group so he signed up. ” I was excited to run with Meb because of his amazing feat at the 2014 Boston Marathon.  I was particularly excited to pace with him because 1:30 was my long-shot goal,” he recalls.  Running with Meb and the cheering spectators gave Sean the boost of energy he needed. He took nearly 15 minutes off his last half marathon time, and exceeded his goal with a 1:27:47 finish.  The pace group developed an unspoken camaraderie simply by sweating out those 13.1 miles together, and he felt very special being a part of that.      

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