Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassi Sets Marathon Record

Left: Haile Gebrselassie is a double Olympic champion over 10,000 meters

Haile Gebrselassie broke the marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, posting an official time of two hours, four minutes and 26 seconds.

The 34-year-old Ethiopian beat the mark of 2:04:55 set by Kenya's Paul Tergat in Berlin in September 2003. Gebrselassie was already 32 seconds inside Tergat's pace at the 10km mark and went through halfway at 62.29.

"This is wonderful, really special," said Gebrselassie, who missed the record by 61 seconds in the 2006 race. The mild weather conditions were almost ideal, with overcast skies for most of the race.
"Today it was perfect," he added. "It was a little bit windy, but perfect. The spectators were great and gave me great support."
The fast, flat course wound through nine districts of the German capital with a total inclination of just 30m.

Last year, Gebrselassie had faded in the final six kilometres in the face of a stiff headwind but this year the race organisers made sure there were enough pacesetters to take him through the 30km point.

Gebrselassie won four successive world titles over 10,000m and set numerous world records on the track before turning to road racing late in his career.

What a wonderful world record. The noble Ethiopian, in the twilight of his career proving he's probably the best long distance runner of all times. This was an amazing run from the greatest long distance runner ever. Mr. Gebrselassie hold world records in distances of 1,500m to the marathon.

Haile Gebrselassie (Ge'ez ኃይሌ ገብረ ሥላሴ haylē gebre silassē) was born April 18, 1973 and is a long distance track and road running athlete born as one of ten children in Asella, Arsi Province, Ethiopia. According to his biography on the International Olympic Committee website, as a child growing up on a farm in Ethiopia he used to run ten kilometers to school every morning, and the same distance back every evening. This led to a distinctive running posture, with his left arm crooked as if still holding his schoolbooks.

He currently holds the marathon world record with a time of 2 hours 4 minutes 26 seconds and is considered by many to be one of the best distance runners of all time, having broken 25 world records and won numerous Olympic and World Championship titles. For a full list of Gebrselassie's World Records, rankings, race history, recent news, and more SEE HERE.

Gebrselassie gained international recognition in 1992 when he won the 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre races at the World Junior Athletics Championships and a silver medal in the junior race at the World Cross Country Championships. The next year Gebreselassie won the first of what would eventually be four consecutive world championships in the men's 10,000 meters at the World Track & Field Championships (1993, 1995, 1997, and 1999).

* 1993
o 1993 World Championships in Athletics
+ 10,000 metre gold medal
+ 5,000 metre silver medal
o 1993 IAAF African Athletics Championships

+ 5,000 metre silver medal
+ 10,000 metre bronze medal
* 1994 IAAF World Cross Country Championships - bronze medal
* 1995
o 1995 World Championships in Athletics
+ 10,000 m gold medal
* 1996
o 1996 Summer Olympics
+ 10,000 m gold medal
* 1997
o 1997 World Championships in Athletics
+ 10,000 m gold medal
o 1997 IAAF World Indoor Championships
+ 3,000 m gold medal
* 1999
o 1999 World Championships in Athletics
+ 10,000 m gold medal
o 1999 IAAF World Indoor Championships
+ 1,500 m gold medal
+ 3,000 m gold medal
* 2000
o 2000 Summer Olympics
+ 10,000 m gold medal
* 2001
o 2001 World Championships in Athletics
+ 10,000 m bronze medal
o 2001 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships winner
* 2003
o 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships
+ 3,000 m gold medal
o 2003 World Championships in Athletics
+ 10,000 m silver medal
Haile Gebrselassie in his own words:
"At the moment I am a little bit politician, yes. I think that could be my next step. It is not because I want power, it is because of what I think I could do for the people."

"But in my country people are hungry, people are thirsty. The problems will never be overcome just by helping them to run fast."

"Eradicate poverty. This is all that matters in my country. When I am out training I think about this a lot; when I am running it is going over in my mind. As a country we cannot move forward until we eradicate poverty."

"You know, I want to help my country. Definitely I can help them, simply by winning races. Sure, they can follow my path to a good career. But for me it is not enough. I want to be more than that. In everything I want to be a role model."
Gete Wami of Ethiopia won the women's marathon in a time of 2:23.17.


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