Haile Gebrselassie: Africa and the World’s Best Runner Ever

Last week, I sat comfortably on my couch and watched what I thought was the last run of the world’s best runner ever, Haile Gebrselassie.  He dropped out of the race when an injury finally had its way with him.

From the first time I saw Kip Keino run and win a mile race in the L.A. Sports Arena back in 1965, I feel in love with African runners.  I have always been partial to the Kenyans but when Abebe Bikila won the 1960 Rome Olympic Marathon barefooted, I was enthralled with the Ethiopians.

Ethiopian, Haile Gebrsellassie is the world’s best.

Haile Gebrselassie has one the prime races of his profession:
  1. two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 meters
  2. four World Championship titles for the 10,000 meters.
  3. four time champion of the Berlin Marathon
  4. three consecutive wins at the Dubai Marathon.
  5. four world titles indoors at distances from 1500 to 3000 meters.
  6. and the 2001 World Half Marathon Champion.
  7. and set 24 world records.

After the NY City Marathon, Haile announced his retirement, then quickly retracted it:

ADDIS ABABA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Passionate appeals from the Ethiopian public persuaded marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie to change his mind about retiring, the athlete told reporters on Friday.
The 37-year-old, regarded as the greatest distance runner of all time, announced he was quitting earlier this month after dropping out of the New York Marathon with a knee injury only to reverse the decision a few days later.
“The reason (I came back) is that people were commenting on the way I announced it. Everyone in Ethiopia was passionate and wanted me to be back,” Gebrselassie told reporters… here to read this entire article.

In a CNN special, Haile said, “I am addicted to running, it is a drug.  I need to eat, rest, and run.”

For the other parts of this CNN show see Part 2, and Part 3 where he set the marathon world record.

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