Sunday, November 21, 2010

Great Ethiopia Run Results

Azmeraw Bekele 29:25
Yenenew Alamirew 29:26
Berhanu Bekele 29:27
Tigabu Gebremariam 29:30
Seboka Nigusse 29:33

Sule Utura 33:35
Abebech Afework 33:46
Ahaza Kiross 33:59
Bizunesh Urgessa 34:01
Makeda Arane 34:10

Azmeraw Bekele has had a break through year. He had won the Jan Meda cross country championship in Ethiopia and has had a few road race wins including a 30K race in Ethiopia.

We have previously bogged about 20 year old budding star Sule Utura who won the women's race. There is also this interesting interview she did.

Look for these names in international races in the coming years.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haile Reverses Decision to Retire

As has been speculated by many over the past week, including this writer, Haile Gebrselassie announced today that he has reversed his decision to retire. Here is a video clip of an Ethiopian Television news report in Amharic announcing this development. The announcer is sports journalist, Fiker Yilkal. Translation is below:

"Athlete Haile Gebreslassie has announced that he will return to competition. It is remembered that Haile announced to the media his retirement from the world of competition, following his unexpected drop out at the recent New York marathon due to an unexpected illness he encountered. Today, at the occasion of starting a 10km race in Nekemte, Haile has exclusively informed the Ethiopian Television and Radio Agency that he will be preparing himself for the London 2012 Olympics. This report of Haile Gebrselassie's reversal of last week's decision to retire from competition has been filed by our reporter in the city of Nekemte, Fisseha Gebremichael."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Haile has run his last run!

And just like that Haile is done.

“I never think about retiring. For the first time, this is the day. Let me stop and do other work after this. Let me do other jobs. Let me give a chance for the youngsters.”

Haile has always been a class act and he will be missed in the running world. But for us Ethiopians, Haile is more than a great runner. He is a positive leader that has infused positive energy into the Ethiopian psyche. He showed us what is possible and declared "Yechalal" (it is possible). As Haile moves on to new goals we can look forward to great thing to come Ethiopia's way.

Geb Win's New York

The other Geb, Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam, on his Marathon debut displayed the patience of a veteran to win the NYC Marathon.

Moment's after Haile exited the race, Mutai, Goumri and Bouramdane picked up the pace. It was a surprised to see a very relaxed Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam among the leaders just gliding along and not pushing anything. When the race was down to him and Mutai, it was fascinating watching him stay patient until he found the moment when Mutai was vulnerable and strike to take control of the race.

I remember the first time Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam came on the international stage in 2002 when he won the Junior World Cross Country title. He won that race barefoot. That day I knew a start was born. But, his track career was good but not exceptional and to many including me that was a disappointment. Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam has never performs well when expectations are high. He does however have a knack of putting out some exceptional performances when no one is expecting.

Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam is a very talented runner. The marathon looks like a great fit for him. He be a force in marathon for years to come.

The Ethiopian marathon field continues to get deeper.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Haile's long last hurrah!

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!