When a small band of Eritrean-Americans who live in Chicago heard that national hero Zersenay Tadese was competing in their adopted city’s most famous race, they came out to watch and cheer for the man dubbed the “David Beckham of Eritrea”. One such Tadese fan watched as the lead pack came whooshing by in the early stages of the race.
Afterwards, near the host hotel close by the finish line, she asked Merhawi Keflezighi, Eritrean-American agent to his famous runner brother Meb, how Zersenay had done. When Hawi told her he had dropped out, she asked, ‘What about the other Eritrean in the race?’
“I told her there wasn’t any other Eritrean in the race,” said Hawi, “only Zersenay. “ ‘But there was another guy wearing the same uniform,’ she said. She wasn’t a running fan, so to her this was just another international competition like the World Championships. So if you’re wearing the same uniform that means you must be on the same team.” (more…)