going for Bristol Gold
Steven Downes for the IAAF
6 October 2001 – Bristol, England - Haile Gebrselassie laughed this morning when asked how seriously he took the comments of another former world champion - Morocco’s Khalid Skah - over whether or not he would manage to win a medal in Sunday’s IAAF World Half-marathon Championships, being staged around this historic port city.
“I don’t know why he said that,” Gebrselassie said. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow when we meet in the race. I am not the only one he will have to race against tomorrow,” suggesting that he would be using tactics along with his Ethiopian team mates Tesfaye Jifar, twice a bronze medallist in this event, and Tesfaye Tola, the Olympic marathon bronze medallist in 2000.
“How fit am I for this race?” Gebrselassie, 28, who has dominated world distance running for almost a decade, responded enigmatically to one question. “The answer will come tomorrow.”
Gebrselassie seemed buoyed with confidence after running his debut half-marathon at altitude in Addis Ababa last month, covering the 13 miles in 63min 15sec (“It was 63 minutes,” he said, “because they added 300 metres on at the end of the course”), and winning an international 10km road race in Prague last weekend.
Gebrselassie said he had recovered from the virus that affected his racing at the Edmonton World Championships in August, where he finished only third in the 10,000 metres, ending a winning streak at the distance that stretched back to 1992.
“What happened to me in Edmonton was very bad,” he said. “I’ve never had that sort of problem before.
“Edmonton was not my last 10,000m on the track. I have to do something more before I finish.”
That “something more” could include a return to the IAAF World Cross-country in the spring, an event he has not raced since 1996, and a first outing over the classic 26.2 miles (42.2km) of the marathon road race.
“It will be either London or Rotterdam,” he said, adding that a formal announcement would be made at the end of this month.
“I want to find a course that is good for a beginner marathon runner,” Gebrselassie said.