Olympic qualification is next step
Haile Gebrselassie after winning in Vienna: Olympic qualification is next step
“For me running is like my daily nutrition. You could say I have breakfast, running, lunch, running, dinner,” explained Haile Gebrselassie. The Ethiopian superstar, who turns 38 today, is back in normal life and proved this at the Vienna City Marathon. A good five months after he had originally announced his retirement but then decided to continue running he won the half marathon staged parallel to marathon with 60:18 minutes.
“I am now confident that I can run a good marathon in autumn. My time in Vienna is okay. It is not so easy to break one hour if you are running alone and without pacemakers,” said the world marathon record holder (2:03:59), who confirmed that the London Olympic marathon in 2012 remains his major goal. Talking about what happened in New York in November 2010, when he dropped out of the marathon and then announced the end of his career he described the situation as “a big disaster for me”. “When I came back to Ethiopia after it people said, what is the matter? You can not end your career like this. You have to finish on a high.”
“From now on it will be all about preparing for the Olympics in 2012,” said Haile Gebrselassie, who is of course well aware that the first major task will be qualification. “This is a serious issue. There are a number of very strong runners in Ethiopia and it is obvious that the Olympic places will go to the three fastest.” When asked about what sort of times he thinks will be necessary to secure nomination Haile Gebrselassie answered: “2:06 will not be enough. I know how strong the others are so I think I will have to run 2:05 or 2:04 to get to London.” The two time Olympic 10,000 m champion further explained that he does not want to be in a position where there will be doubts about whether he will be selected for London or not. In need of a very fast marathon time in autumn Berlin seems to be the most likely destination for his next marathon. “Of course Berlin is the best place to go for a fast time. If it would be possible I would say right now: Yes, I will run in Berlin. But my manager has to speak with the Berlin organisers first. I do however expect that an announcement will be made very soon.”
“It was an unbelievable event to have Haile in Vienna. I am refering to both, his performance as an athlete and his amazing, charming personality,” said Wolfgang Konrad, the race director of the Vienna City Marathon. Among a number of official appointments there was a reception from the President of Austria, Mr Heinz Fischer, two days before the race. ”Vienna is a very nice city and it has a wonderful race. I had not expected such a great atmosphere and such tremendous support along the course. Additionally it is a good course, where you can run fast. I would like to come back, may be for the marathon,” said Haile Gebrselassie much to the delight of the Vienna organisers, who had even printed a 76 page high quality magazine about Haile’s life. The title of the magazine is: ,Haile in Wien’