After watching Haile Gebrselassie race for over a decade, I finally was able to meet with him for an intereview at the RNR Arizona Half Marathon in 2006. The intereview was set up by the late Mike Long, and my time with Haile was one of the most amazing few hours in my life, up there with the day I spent with the late Emil Zatopek in 1991 in California.
After watching the Emperor race over 5k, 10k and half marathon, and finally last year, watching him run Berlin, I think this guy can do anything…
A career that goes back to 1993, Haile Gebrselassie is the most decorated distance runner of his era. His 24 world records tie him with the late Paavo Nurmi in terms of world records. His monumental races on the track, especially the 1996 Olympic 10,000 meters and the 2000 Olympic 10,000 meters, showed the true depth of the man from Ethiopia. Haile can do just about anything he puts his mind to.
Last spring, after running two sub 2:07 marathons in less than sixty days, Haile had a very human experience in Flora London. Just after 30k, Haile dropped out, with breathing problems. It was discovered that he had an allergy problem, and that was corrected.
This last summer, Haile ran 26:52.1 for 10,000 meters, and then the monumental hour run world record, and finally, at the Nike New York Half Marathon, Haile ran
59:24 through the streets of New York City.
The course for Berlin is a great course for racing. After 35 kilometers, the last seven kilometers are downhill. Haile told all in a press conference today that he wants the world record of 2:04.55, and that he can run 2:03! Do not doubt that the feet are there, the legs are there and the will is there. It should prove to be a fascinating race to watch!
For the complete story, Haile wants to run a 2:03, written by Jorg Wennig for the IAAF: http://www.iaaf.org/news/Kind=2/newsId=41879.html