After a long grueling run in windy and raining conditions, the feeling of crossing the finish line with a win must be exhilarating. Legs barely carrying you and lungs just not getting enough air in, to look up and receive a towel from a former World champion, must be special.
But when that former World champion is a generation defining talent. One who is a four time World champion, four times World Indoor champion, two times Olympic Champion and has broken over twenty world records in his career. That moment when you receive your towel, will forever be edged in the winner’s memory as extra special.
Having come out to the Two Oceans Marathon, Haile Gebrselassie has been in Cape Town for the week, and participated in the 5 km fun run on Good Friday.
Such was the impression left by the city on the Ethiopian legend that he is seriously considering signing up for the Two Oceans Marathon at least once in his life. In an exclusive interview with the national broadcaster, Gebrselassie expressed great admiration for the event. The scenic route provided by the city and the jovial atmosphere by the supporters on the side of the road.
He said that it was unfortunate that it would be impossible to organize something like this in Addis Ababa. “We have races, 10 km and 21 km, but with the altitude it would be impossible to run 56 km.”
“But sitting here watching these people running and giving it their all, I know they are hurting. Their legs are sore. But inside, they are happy. Just watching this, I am really inspired to come back and run. Maybe next year or the year after, but I need to go back and train” he said with a smile.
Kate Wood, formerly Kate Hector who represented SA in two Olympic games in field hockey; while speaking on behalf of Adidas in an interview with the National Broadcaster said ” as Adidas we are always motivated to pull out all the stops in making each race special. We brought a legend this year, and many others before. But perhaps next year we could work hard at getting Haile Gebrselassie to come out and run.”
Despite his many accolades, Gebrselassie has never competed in any distances longer than 42 km. Therefore, if he were to run the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathons it would be his first Ultra Marathon of his career. He would need to find time in his busy schedule as a businessman, who has his eye on an Ethiopian political career in the domestic election after next.
The 41 year old still keeps fit by running 20km every morning and some gym work in the afternoon.
For those who do not know who this man, watch this video and find out why they call him “the man with the best kick in the business.”