NEW YORK — Meb Keflezighi would be satisfied with a top-10 finish in his 10th New York City Marathon.
“Goal No. 1 is to try to win,” he said. “Goal No. 2 is to be top three, then top five, then top six. If I can’t do that, top 10.”
The 40-year-old is the last American to win the five-borough race, in 2009, and has finished in the top 10 seven out of his nine starts dating to 2002.
“If I can land any of those [top-10s], it would be awesome,” said Keflezighi, the only men’s or women’s winner from the U.S. since Alberto Salazar in 1982. “Obviously, the closer to No. 1, the better.”
A top-10 should be no problem for Keflezighi, if his recent form holds up. Last year, he won the Boston Marathon in a personal-best 2:08:37, then finished fourth in New York in blustery conditions in 2:13:18 and in April returned to Boston with an eighth-place 2:12:42.
Ten men in the field other than Keflezighi have ever run faster than 2:13:18 over 26.2 miles, and New York is not a course conducive to personal bests.
Keflezighi will also race Sunday with the Olympic trials in 104 days in Los Angeles (live on NBC) resting in the back of his mind.
His biggest remaining goal in marathon running is to make a fourth Olympic team in 2016, and he has successful experience with short turnarounds to know he can perform well in November and February.
The biggest gauge for Keflezighi’s chances to finish in the top three in the Olympic trials will be how he performs Sunday.
The race includes one other top contender for the U.S. Olympic team, Nick Arciniaga, who is ranked No. 7 in the nation in marathon times since the 2012 Olympics.
Obviously, if Keflezighi is slower than Arciniaga, who famously finished 10th in New York last year with bloody nipples, then his trials hopes will take a major hit.
The 2004 Olympic silver medalist Keflezighi has the second-fastest marathon by an American since the 2012 Olympics, behind Dathan Ritzenhein.
In 2016, Keflezighi will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic runner. He plans to run beyond Rio, which would be his 24th time competing over 26.2 miles.
“And then maybe one Boston, and then finish up in New York [with a 26th marathon] would be huge,” he said.