Marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie (right) of Ethiopia and Arata Fujiwara of Japan (left) take part in the National Running Day festivities in New York (organisers) © Copyright
“It is pretty much a thrill of a lifetime for us to host Haile in the marathon,” said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. “We have looked forward to this day for literally years. Haile represents the very best of our sport and more. We are privileged and honored to bring him here. I know he’ll touch New Yorkers, as he has touched fans around the world.”
The announcement was made at Icahn Stadium, where Gebrselassie joined 1500 schoolchildren for the New York Road Runners Mighty Milers Fun Run as part of the second annual National Running Day celebration.
“It has been a long dream of mine to compete in this outstanding event, and I’m so excited about competing for the first time in my career in the ING New York City Marathon this November, “ said Gebrselassie. “I know my longtime friend Tesfaye Jifar has the course record in New York and with all of us in the field I believe that we might be able to make it a race which can be remembered for a long time as a historical race.”
Widely considered the greatest distance runner of all time, Gebrselassie, 37, set the Marathon world record in 2008 at the real,- Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:03:59. Gebrselassie has focused on road racing and the Marathon since the 2004 Olympic Games, and he captured his first title in a World Marathon Majors race in Berlin in 2006. In addition to four straight wins in Berlin, he has also claimed marathon victories in Amsterdam (2005), Fukuoka, Japan (2006), and Dubai (2008, 2009, 2010).
The 1996 and 2000 Olympic 10,000m gold medallist has won 124 races, only four of which (Atlanta, Boston, Tempe, and New York) have been in the United States. He has now set 25 World records in his illustrious career with a total of 15 senior medals at the Olympic Games (2), World Outdoor Championships (7), World Indoor Championships (4), World Half-Marathon Championships (1), and World Cross Country Championships (1).
It was also announced today that fresh off his course-record victory of 2:09:34 at the Ottawa Marathon on Sunday, Arata Fujiwara of Japan will run in this year’s race. Fuijwara, 28, was twice the runner-up at the Tokyo Marathon (2008 and 2010) and was third at the Fukuoka Marathon in 2008. No Japanese man or woman has won the ING New York City Marathon.
Organisers for the IAAF