Edited on 11/15/10 based on Haile's change of heart:
There were great happenings at, and immediately after the New York Marathon today. Combined, these will have the running world buzzing for months to come.
First, I was ecstatic to watch American Shalane Flanagan spectacularly make her marathon debut. She dramatically did so through cinching a strong second place time of 2:28:40, only 20-seconds off the winner's. Shalane led through significant portions of the final six miles, and had the best New York finish by any American woman since Kim Jones finished second in 1990. Pictured at the awards ceremony afterward were winner Edna Kiplagat, center, of Kenya, flanked by Shalane Flanagan, right, and third-place finisher Mary Keitany, also of Kenya.
Second, Haile Gebrselassie, the current marathon world record holder and arguably the greatest marathon runner in history announced his retirement from the sport to a shocked audience. The press conference occurred following his dropping out of the race with a knee injury just prior to the 17 mile marker. Gebrselassie came on the stage to answer questions, and started with his own statement regarding the race: "I'm a little bit disappointed, disappointed to myself. Whatever it is, I can not change. I am a little bit unhappy... I don't want (to do this again). It's better to stop here." While it was initially hoped that Geb was talking about the race and not his career he then said, with his voice full of emotion: "It didn't work. Next time, to complain again and again. It's bad for all you who support me (so I won't do it again)." Asked to clarify whether he was retiring, he responded, "Yes", and added I did very hard training. After this, I have (had) no discussion with my manager with anybody. I discuss(ed) with myself, that is better to stop here. I never think about to retire. But for the first time ever, this is the day."
Having always been amazed and impressed by Gebrselassie's fantastically long streak of athletic accomplishment, charitable contributions within his country and unassuming bearing I wish him the very best in what I hope proves to be a long, healthy and active retirement. The running community who have consistently admired and respected Gebrselassie will long remember his unequaled longevity and dominance of his sport.
11/15/10 As noted in this NY Times ArticleHaile Gebrselassie has reconsidered and has decided that he will, in fact, return to the sport! To celebrate, here is a beautiful time-lapse video of this year's New York Marathon start, as uniquely seen from the top of the Verrazano bridge:
It's so sad that Haile will not be racing marathons any more - he's such a warm, funny, modest man that his presence always makes an event feel better. But it's also admirable and brave, and he is man who has much to offer the world in the rest of his life as well. And fantastic effort on Shelane's part - amazing!ReplyDelete
New York Marathon was awesome to watch. Really sad about Haile Gebrselassie, but he remains the greatest marathoner of our time. Such a humble person as well.ReplyDelete
That video was so hard to watch. The emotion was raw. I felt so badly for him and wished it could have gone differently. What an amazing race for Shalane though.ReplyDelete
Heeeeeee's BACK! :-)ReplyDelete