It took me a while to put my finger on it but the past week there subtle hints that the NYC Marathon is the beginning of Haile's farewell.
It feels like Haile has been with us for ages and we have seen seen him achieve so much but Haile can't run forever.
Haile has two things he still would like to archive, win an Olympic gold medal and improve his marathon world record.
In Ethiopia, all gold medals are not perceived equal. Nothing comes close to winning an Olympic gold medal in the marathon. Since 2008, Haile has repeatedly stated that he looks forward to running in the 2012 Olympics and what a way to end a career – with a marathon gold medal. There is nothing that can eclipse that as it would put him right up there with Abebe Bikila.
The London Olympics are only 19 months away and that translates to no more than five more marathons for Haile.
Look for Haile to run in Dubai, in order to qualify for the Ethiopia's London Olympic team and to improve his marathon world record. If he does not set a world record at Dubai look for him to run Berlin again. I am sure Boston and Chicago are two races that will push hard to have him before he retires.
I don't expect to see a complete champion like Haile in my lifetime. What he did on the track and on the road speaks for itself. What distinguishes Haile is his ease and the joy that he radiates. It's hard to imagine the running world without Haile.
So let's enjoy Haile's long last hurrah!