But you can compete in the same event as Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher, and Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi. I can proudly say that I raced with Meb in the San Jose Half Marathon on October 4, 2009. We never ran side-by-side, but we did cross paths when he was already headed in the other direction to the finish line on the out and back run. Meb may have beaten me by a little over an hour, but nevertheless, I got to run in the same event as him. Meb won the half marathon and later went on to win the 2009 NY marathon as well.
I find this information quite amazing. It makes me feel even more special to be a runner and to be a participant of an event involving elite runners. Long distance running offers equal opportunity for all!