Bekele Wants to break his record for 10,000m in Brussels


The Ivo Van Damme Memorial, named after the Belgian middle distance great Ivo Van Damme, has become synonymous with great distance races! The 10,000 meters has been a major event each year there, with fast times, and world record attempts. From Salah Hissou, Paul Tergat, and Kenenisa Bekele, the 10,000 meters has been a major highlight of the meeting each year..This year, Kenenisa Bekele wants to break his own record!

On August 26, 2005, Kenenisa Bekele, alone after 6 kilometers, stayed on task and broke the world record for the 10,000 meters by three seconds with his fine 26:17.53, running the last mile in 4:07!

Last month, in Osaka, Japan, after Bekeles' dramatic victory of the 10,000 meter field, Kenenisa told this writer and several other track writers that he would be going for the world record for 10k in Brussels at the Van Damme Memorial. Kenenisa is not one to broadcast his feelings, but when he feels comfortable and with writers he trusts, he was, for him, quite efusive.

When asked how fast he would go through the 5,000 meter mid point, Bekele said, quite relaxed, " 13:05:. This compares nicely with his 13:09 halfway in Brussels in 2005.

Kenenisa showed what he was made of in the dramatic defense of his 10,000 meter title in Osaka. With 600 meters to go, Bekele was about to be dropped, but he called within himself and went past the Kenyan, and then his teammate, Sileshi Sihane, and dropped off a 27.8 last 200 meters to seal his third title at 10,000 meters. " I think that five gold medals are possible, " said a smiling, but definitely tired Bekele the next day at the Nike press conference.

The 10,000 meters is a race where endurance, speed and mental toughness are tested over 25 laps. Consistency is key, and focus is tested. By the time the athlete gets to the last five laps, if the race has been run right, the 10,000 m is challenging the athlete to see what he or she has left. For example, when Bekele broke his previous record of 26:20 (from June 8, 2004 in Ostrava) and established the current record, he ran the last 1,500 meters in 3:52! That was four laps in the 62 second range! When one considers that Paavo Nurmi won the 1924 Olympic 1500 in the then world record of 3:52.6, one understands the severity of the current record and the resources that Kenenisa Bekele, all of 25 years, has to muster to set a new record!

The Ivo Van Damme Memorial, which happens on September 14, 2007, will have several events of note, but we will focus here on the 10,000 meters. My prediction is that Bekele will run 26:11.55 for 10,000 meters tommorow. We shall see how close he will come and how loud the crowd of 47,000 will be in the stands!

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