Nationally revered runners to appear at Gasparilla


Two of the national running society’s most inspirational figures are set to make guest appearances this weekend at the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic.

Four-time U.S. Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi, who retired from the sport last year, and competitive triathlete Colleen Kelly Alexander will appear throughout the weekend on the race course and at the Health and Fitness Expo inside the Tampa Convention Center.

Alexander will compete in three races.

Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist who won the 2009 New York City Marathon and ’14 Boston Marathon, will be signing copies of two of his books Friday from 4-5 p.m., and Saturday from 3-4 p.m., at the Expo.

His newest book — 26 Marathons: What I’ve Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life from Each Marathon I’ve Run — will be released in April. He’ll also appear on the course during Sunday’s half-marathon before heading to the finish line to greet runners.

RELATED: Gasparilla half-marathon will be one of last stops for fabled distance runner Meb Keflezighi

Alexander survived brain surgery and a diagnosis of lupus, only to be run over by a multi-ton freight truck during a bike ride in 2011. She spent five weeks in a coma and underwent 29 surgeries, but has since run 50 races and completed 40 triathlons.

In addition to competing this weekend, Alexander will be promoting her new book entitled Gratitude in Motion.

Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic

Health and fitness expo: Tampa Convention Center’s East Hall, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

15K: 6:40 a.m. Saturday (starts Brorein Street and Franklin Street, Tampa)

5K: 9:15 a.m. Saturday (starts Brorein Street and Franklin Street, Tampa)

Half-marathon: 6 a.m. Sunday (starts Platt Street and Bayshore Boulevard, Tampa)

8K: 9:15 a.m. Sunday (starts Bayshore Boulevard and Verne Street, Tampa)

Registration: (Registration caps in effect for each race. When cap is reached, registration closes)

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