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Gebrselassie to make Half Marathon Debut in Bristol World Championships

Gebrselassie chooses Bristol for International Half Marathon Debut
UK Athletics
19 September 2001 - The current World record holder for 5000m (12:39.36) and 10,000m (26:22.75) and multiple World and Olympic Champion, Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, has indicated for some time that he would like a new challenge.  The Ethiopian Athletic Federation has confirmed that this new challenge will begin in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships on the streets of Bristol on Sunday 7 October.  No doubt Gebrselassie’s renowned fan club will be there to cheer him on as they were in Birmingham in 1999 when he set the current World indoor record for 5000m of 12:50.38.

Gebrselassie may well use the IAAF World Half Marathon as a starting point to his transition to the marathon, following in the footsteps of his great rival, Kenyan Paul Tergat.  Tergat hoped he would be the first man ever to break the one hour barrier for the half marathon in the UK at last weekend’s Great North Run.  After falling half a minute short of this target, the way has been left open for Gebrselassie to put Bristol on the map by not only chasing victory but achieving that sub 60 minute clocking on the city’s flat course.  Tergat will follow his recent Great North Run victory with the Chicago marathon next month.

Despite concentrating most of his efforts on the track and being relatively inexperienced at longer distances, Gebrselassie was able to win this year’s Ethiopian Championship and Trials at the Half Marathon.  The world will be watching as he makes his international debut over this longer distance in Bristol and seeks to add a title at a new distance to his illustrious list of career highlights. 

Haile Gebrselassie: career highlights 1993                 1st 10,000m, 2nd 5000m              World Championships 1995                 1st 10,000m                                    World Championships 1996                 1st 10,000m                                    Olympics 1997                 1st 3000m                          World Indoor Championships                         1st 10,000m                                    World Championships 1999                 1st 1500m, 1st 3000m              World Indoor Championships                         1st 10,000m                                    World Championships 2000                 1st 10,000m                                    Olympics 2001                 3rd 10,000m                                    World Championships  

Further information on the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships is available on www.ukathletics.org