Posted by: Joe English | January 10, 2008

Gebrselassie sets sights on first sub-2:04:00 marathon

With the Dubai Marathon coming up on January 18th, the buzz is starting to circulate around whether Haile Gebrselassie will break his own world record and even possibly run the first ever sub-2:04:00 marathon.

In a release from the Dubai Marathon organization, Gebrselassie’s manager Jos Hermens said, “I and he are certain he can do under 2:04″ in the race on January 18th.

Gebrselassie was a bit more reserved saying, ““Yes, I did 2:04 in Berlin [a World Record 2:04:26 three months ago]. But everything was perfect, the weather, the course, the pacemaking. Sure, it’s possible to do under 2:04, but everything has to be perfect again”.

Forecasts at the moment for early morning in Dubai next week are similar to Berlin in September, i.e. a temperate 13–15C (55–60F). “That would be great, wonderful,” he says.

Last year’s winner, William Rotich, said immediately after his victory in 2007, “sub-2:05 is possible on this course.”

As far as pacemaking goes, the lineup is arguably one of the best field’s in the world. Former world half-marathon champion Fabiano Joseph of Tanzania has been enlisted, and should be joined by 2002 New York Marathon and Boston Marathon winner Rodgers Rop, who paced Gebrselassie impressively to the 30KM mark last September in Berlin.

Briton Richard Nerurkar, the former World Cup marathon champion, says, “Berlin taught Haile, I think, how to run the perfect marathon. He now knows the distance so much better than three years ago. But you’d also have to say that you need some luck for things to work out as they did in Berlin”.

Gebrselassie added “[my] training is OK; everything is OK, I have to be in good shape, but shape is not enough. The day of the race is also important. I’m waiting till I get to Dubai, and it’s still two weeks to go. I’ll tell you two days before.

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Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon USA
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