photo by Victah Sailor, photorun.net
Haile Gebreslassie talks the talk, but, will he do the walk in Berlin? Read on, sports fans!
Haile Gebrselassie is a man of action. His 10,000 meter races in Atlanta and Sydney were monumental, his Sydney race may have been the great battle of 10,000 meters ever run. Now, Haile is focused on the marathon. He has set world records up to the half marathon distance. Last year he ran 2:05.56 in Berlin, and had some difficulty over the last six kilometers. In London, it was a pollen allergy. The little Emperor says he is ready, having focused on the longer runs and his speed is obviously in good shape. Many people think he will break the world record, what do you think? Before answering, please read the following column from Bob Ramsak:
WITH CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM, GEBRSELASSIE READY FOR ANOTHER WR ATTEMPT IN BERLIN
by Bob Ramsak
(c) 2007 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved
During a largely solo run a year ago at the real,-Berlin Marathon, Haile Gebrselassie challenged Paul Tergatâ€™s world record for just over 35 kilometers. But with the winds battering and temperatures rising over the final few kilometer, he was reminded again how truly challenging Tergatâ€™s performance is to surpass. Building upon that experience, Gebreselassie will be giving the record another go on Sunday morning over the streets of the German capital.
â€œThe last five or six kilometers in last yearâ€™s race were a big problem for me, they really hurt,â€ Said Gebrselassie, whose 2:05:56 victory nonetheless lowered his own Ethiopian national record and thrust him into the eventâ€™s all-time top-five. â€œThatâ€™s why Iâ€™ve put more emphasis on stamina this time, but donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve lost any speed.â€
In his record run on the same course in 2003, Tergat had company –and a genuine race– all the way to the finish line. He won in 2:04:55, just a second ahead of Sammy Korir, whose performance is still the second fastest ever.
â€œIn 2006 I ran the last few kilometers on my own but itâ€™s important to have people to run against. Having an opponent makes you run that much harder and give everything youâ€™ve got over those last kilometers.â€
The Ethiopianâ€™s chief opposition appears to be Kenyan Philip Manyim, the winner in 2005. But to remain competitive, Manyim admitted that heâ€™ll only be a factor if the first half doesnâ€™t transpire too quickly.
â€œI was in excellent shape when I won here in Berlin two years ago,â€ said Manyim, whose 2:07:51 performance from that year remains his career best. â€œMy form right now is also pretty good, perhaps good enough to run a personal best. If the pace at the start isnâ€™t too fast, I could make Haile Gebrselassie take me seriously as a rival. In Paul Tergatâ€™s world record run the pace wasnâ€™t so fast at the start. It was only in the second half of the race that the tempo increased. If the race starts too fast on Sunday, I doubt if Iâ€™ll be able to go with it.â€
But Manyimâ€™s fears will have to be realized for Gebrselassie to achieve his clearly stated objective. Race Director Mark Milde said that three pacemakers will assist through 30 kilometers, with another two helping those through the half way point, which they hope to reach in under 63 minutes. The midway split last year was 1:02:46, and for Tergat, 1:03:01.
For his part, Gebrselassie is making no promises, other than that heâ€™ll simply try his best.
â€œItâ€™s never easy to say youâ€™ll run a world record,â€ said Gebrselassie, who has set 23 world records or bests in his career, most recently for 20 kilometers and one hour on the track. â€œThe difference between racing on the track for 10,000 meters, for example, compared to the marathon, is that on the track you have to deal with the other runners and the clock. With the marathon you have a third factor to cope with and thatâ€™s the distance itself.â€
â€œI know all about doing that on the track,â€ he continued. â€œBut Iâ€™ve never set a world record in the marathon. Thatâ€™s the difference.â€
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END â€“ TPR #702 – 29-Sept-2007
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