Despite moving up to the marathon, Kenenisa Bekele insists he’s not done with the track and wants to break his own world record
Kenenisa Bekele claims he is not finished as a track athlete and would love to have a shot at breaking his own 10,000m world record, despite wanting to concentrate on the marathon in future.
Indifferent form on the track in recent years and a third consecutive defeat at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country last weekend may lead some to the conclusion that the 31-year-old’s days as a middle-distance athlete are well behind him.
Add in his remarkable performance in outsprinting Mo Farah to win the Bupa Great North Run half-marathon in September and it would seem the Ethiopian’s best chances of success could rest over 26 miles in future.
However, Bekele, who will make his marathon debut in Paris in April, believes that at 31 he is not too old to have the speed to revise his world mark of 26:17.53 set in 2005.
“Many athletes achieve at the Olympics and world championships at this age or maybe 34,” Bekele told AW following his fifth place in Edinburgh. “My age is not against me.”
Currently training around 150 miles a week and not focusing on speedwork, he said he was not too concerned with being outsprinted by a quartet led by American Garrett Heath.
“If I train hard, if I concentrate on the 5000m or 10,000m, I can do it,” said the three-time Olympic champion. “Maybe, who knows, I have the dream to maybe again break the 10,000m world record. My dream is not only [centred] on the Olympics and marathons. I want to try one more world record at 10,000m.”
As for future championships on the track, he said: “I can’t say now [my track career is over] because first I want to see how the marathon goes.”
Bekele had announced a few days earlier that he would line up in Paris on April 6 rather than London a week later when he would have raced the other high-profile marathon debutant, Mo Farah. He said his goal would be to win and that he had an eye on the course record of 2:05:12.
In Edinburgh Bekele explained that he felt the Paris race would be more conducive to an even pace, saying: “I need to run a consistent pace to gain experience for the marathon.”