Distance legend Haile Gebrselassie reveals he is leaving out faster sessions as they make him too tired
It seems time may finally be catching up with arguably the most prolific distance runner ever as Haile Gebrselassie has claimed he no longer does any speedwork because it leaves him too tired the next day.
The Ethiopian, who turned 40 in April, explained it was the reason he was outsprinted into third at Sunday’s Bupa Great Manchester Run, a race he has won five times in the past.
The double Olympic 10,000m champion said after the defeat: “My problem right now is doing speedwork. If I do a speedwork session, the next day it’s hard. That’s why I didn’t have enough kick today.”
Pressed later on the subject, he confirmed: “I can’t do the speedwork anymore. It’s not an easy job. I don’t do it at all.”
However, despite apparently feeling his age, he is embracing his veteran status surprisingly warmly. Whereas many international athletes refuse to “lower” themselves to competing for age-group honours, the man who says he will never stop running is now setting about breaking over-40 world records.
He set 27 world records in his senior career, including his 5000m and 10,000m bests of 12:39.36 and 26:22.75 and becoming the first man to run sub-2:04 for the marathon. He could easily bag even more global marks as a veteran.
“Why not? I’ll try,” he said of the prospect. “Every race after this, it’s possible to break a masters record because the times are not superfast.”
His 61:14 for a half-marathon in Vienna in April got him oﬀ the mark and he added a second M40 record when he clocked 47:00 for 10 miles in Bern in May. He then ran 28:00 in Manchester to slice 51 seconds oﬀ the previous 10km mark.
However, the man who won the first of his four senior world 10,000m titles 20 years ago, is not ready to give up competing against the younger generation either. He is targeting an autumn marathon, picking out Berlin, Chicago or Fukuoka as likely contenders.
» To read more about Gebrselassie’s performance at the Bupa Great Manchester Run and read an in-depth race report see the May 30 issue of AW, which is available here