AMSTERDAM (NED): Kenenisa Bekele’s agent Jos Hermens expressed surprise that none of the World Marathon Majors wanted to sign him up for an autumn marathon, informs LetsRun.com. “If you are the second [fastest in the history of] the world, as he was as when this season was starting before Berlin, and you don’t get an invitation, I’m surprised. What are you going to do with our sport if you don’t want the second-fastest guy in the world?” he said.
RunBlogRun opines: The question that Jos Hermans asked should have been rhetorical. The directors of elite marathon fields are like fine chefs. The final taste of the good is a combination of how the food is prepared, how fine the ingredients are, and how the ingredients work together. Some athletes compete well against each others, and some do not. Some athletes bring the best out in themselves and each other, and some do not.
My relationship with Kenenisa Bekele has developed over the years. Kenenisa has relaxed with the media, now understanding that sponsors love to see stories and interviews. That is a learned skill. For Kenenisa, racing at the world best level was easier than dealing with the media. I enjoy his conversations, and his observations. I also respect how much he has worked to do better inteviews. Here is one of them (pre London Marathon 2017): https://www.runblogrun.com/2017/04/kenenisa-berkele-pre-london-marathon-interview-with-larry-eder-runblogrun.htm
The marathon is changing. Some race directors spend the big dollars early in their planning. Marathoners who wait to decide do not always get the best money. There also may be a difference in opinion on the worth of Mr. Bekele.
The marathon distance is problematic. It took Eliud Kipchoge nearly four years to master the distance. Haile Gebrselassie needed to change his stride and approach to master the marathon distance. To some observers, the question is not whether Kenenisa Bekele has the tools to run another fast marathon, rather the question might be which Kenenisa Bekele is going to show up at the starting line.
Look at this guy. You are looking at a highly trained racer. In shape, Kenenisa Bekele could take Eliud Kipchoge to the brink. The key is, has Kenenisa overcome his injury issues and where is he in his fitness?
Bekele may not be getting the respect he deserves. Truth is, his track speed is a benefit and hindrance. Can Kenenisa Bekele win major marathons? Yes. What will he do in Amsterdam? My guess, break the CR, and prepare for another good pay day.
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