Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Haile Gebrselassie is for turning?
He appeared adament from the start of his announcement that what he was about to say "could not be changed" and that all present would be "shocked".
Seemingly, he didn't want to continue racing if it meant "complaining", presumably apologising for a deterioration in future performances, and it was, therefore, "Better to stop here". A phrase he used again and this was taken to be his way of announcing his retirement from the sport.
It would appear that he could not actually bring himself, or could not find the words, to state categorically that he would never race again: a reporter having to query with him whether they had interpreted his announcement correctly.
He confirmed it was....better to stop here....to devote himself to "other work" ...."other jobs" ( he has a hotel and a car dealership amongst other business interests) ...he would leave the way open for the "youngsters".
Significantly, and somewhat surprisingly, he had not discussed his immediate retirement with his coach/agent and as I ran through the many puddles on the trail this morning (goretex shoes?) I couldn't help but think that his announcement was a "knee jerk reaction" and that once he had spoken to Jos Hermens and others and thought about bowing out of the sport that he has graced so magnificently, that he would probably have a rethink. As it's always put..... finish at the top!
Indeed, as of the last hour, it would appear that he may be reconsidering his decision. He writes..
"What a disappointing weekend. I didn't plan to come back to Ethiopia this way. I wanted to succeed in New York. Now it is time for me to think about a lot of things. I still love running. I will always run. Just give me time to think things over."
I would suggest that we may not see Haile Gebrselassie race another marathon as the "very hard" training he has had to endure has obviously taken it's toll and will have undermined his confidence.
I maintain there is a vast difference between racing a marathon and running a marathon. I really stopped training for marathons in 1988 having run 2:36 on a very hot day at Blackpool. Slogging on alone from 14 miles was very hard work. I was 39 and decided that , rightly or wrongly, that the marathon long runs were taking the edge off my speed and having run 24 .............enough was enough!
I did, however, do another two. A late decision London in 1994 , clocking 2:56 and more calculated approach towards the Amsterdam marathon in 1998, finishing in 2:50. (Pictured here....another sunny day but somewhat cooler than Blackpool) .
With a few months proper preparation I am confident I could finish a marathon reasonably well. But clearly I would be absolutely nowhere near the 3 hour barrier and with all previous 26 under, why put myself through all the work necessary? As Haile says, why do it when the result is a lot of "complaining" about leg problems ..which I know there would be!!
No, once Haile has had chance to discuss his future at length I would like to think that he still consider he can continue to contest world class 10ks and half marathons for a few more seasons. Let's hope that is the case.
But, yes, having risen to the very greatest of heights I can't imagine he'll be "racing" at my age, writing blogs "complaining" about yet another niggle and yet another "personal worse", can you?
On a positive note, todays' trail run of 7 mile actually went pretty well considering I'd raced on Sunday. It may well be down to my Saucony Amppro tights which I've been wearing for recovery but without wearing them on one leg only and making a comparison,there's really no way of knowing is there?