FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone: 030-301 288 10
Fax: 030-301 288 20
Haile Gebrselassie before the real BERLIN MARATHON:
"I will run as fast as I can."
"I will run as fast as I can, but I cannot say what time is possible,"
said Haile Gebrselassie during a press conference for the real,- BERLIN
MARATHON, where he will be competing on September 24 alongside 40,000 other
runners. The 33-year-old exceptional runner from Ethiopia consciously
avoided the words "world record" – he has missed that goal at his three
previous attempts at the 42.195 km classic distance.
His Kenyan rival Paul Tergat holds the current world record, which he set
winning the real,- BERLIN MARATHON in 2003 with a time of 2:04:55. It is no
accident, however, that Haile Gebrselassie has chosen to compete in the
race in Berlin. "I know, of course, that Berlin has a flat course upon
which very fast times are possible," the two-time (1996 and 2000) 10,000m
Olympic gold medallist stated. He has set 21 world records in his career,
the last of which was at the beginning of March with a time of 1:11:37 for
the 25 km distance, which, however, has not been officially recognised.
The journey to Berlin was adventurous for Haile Gebrselassie. He had
planned on participating in a 10 km race in Sicily on Saturday evening on
his way to the German capital, but the 4-time 10,000 m world champion never
arrived there. "The problem was that shortly before take-off a rabbit got
caught in the engine. After already flying for an hour and forty minutes,
the captain decided that we had to turn back and prepared for an emergency
landing," Haile Gebrselassie said, who as a result missed his connecting
flight to Italy.
"It is too bad that I was not able to run the 10 km, but it was not
decisive for my marathon preparation. And the only really important race
for me is the real,- BERLIN MARATHON," Haile Gebrselassie, said, who
travelled to Germany specifically for the press conference. The Ethiopian’s
current best time for the marathon is 2:06:20, which he achieved a year ago
winning the Amsterdam Marathon. Not including one race as a 15-year-old
with a time of 2:48, his other two marathons were run in London: in 2002 he
came in third in 2:06:35, and this year he was ninth with a time of
2:09:05. "That was simply not my day in London this year," Haile
Gebrselassie said, who also stated a year ago in Amsterdam: "I know that I
can break the marathon world record – I just don’t know when it will
"After three races, I now have a better feeling for the marathon," Haile
Gebrselassie said. He will be facing the second-fastest marathon runner of
all time in Berlin -- Sammy Korir (Kenya/2:04:56). "That is good for the
spectators, for it will be an exciting race—that is less good for me. I
hope that Sammy has trained hard, as I will be in top form."
When questioned about the current doping cases in athletics, Haile
Gebrselassie stated: "It is important that the perpetrators are caught so
that the clean athletes are protected." This kind of news is not pretty for
the sport, he said, but at the same time it is important to convict those
who are cheating.
Haile Gebrselassie, who won his first big title in the 10,000m at the World
Championships in Stuttgart in 1993, is giving no thought to ending his
career. "As long as I am still the fastest during training, there is no
reason to think about quitting. I have not set any date for myself. The
2008 Olympics are definitely part of my plan, however."