Gebrselassie Legend Grows With One Hour Record in Ostrava June 27, 2007 By Bob Ramsak (c) 2007 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved; used with permission
CZECH REPUBLIC (27-Jun) -- Despite his recent career shift to the
roads, Haile Gebrselassie illustrated quite clearly that he's still
very much at home on the track after breaking
the World record in the
one hour run at the 46th Golden Spike Grand Prix in Ostrava tonight.
before a near capacity crowd at Mestsky Stadium, the legendary
Ethiopian covered 21,285 metres over the course of 60 minutes to break
the previous best, 21,101m, set by Mexican Arturo Barrios in La Fléche,
France, on 30 March 1991.
"Today is just a fantastic day," said
a beaming Gebrselassie, after adding 184 metres to the classic distance
running challenge. "I thought at half way that I would get the record.
But 50 percent of the record is because of the spectators, and they
This was the second attempt by Gebrselassie to
tackle the record. In his first, in Hengelo in 2002, a calf problem
forced him off the track after 39 minutes. Besides a few grimaces, he
showed no signs of faltering this time around. Assisted by three
pacesetters, he reached the 10,000m point in 28:11.24 and two
kilometres later (33:50.74), he was on his own. With his long refined
surgical precision, Gebrselassie knocked off 68-second lap after
68-second lap before displaying remnants of his swift legendary
finishing kick when the final minute countdown began. In the waning
moments he even won another race, dashing past a judge who tried
desperately to keep up and mark the spot where the hour would end.
was expecting something special today," he said. "I was worried a
little bit about the wind, but it was ok. I think I could have run even
En route, the 34-year-old Ethiopian also broke the
World record for 20,000m, covering 50 laps in 56:25.98, well within the
previous 56:55.6 also set by Barrios. These were the 23rd and 24th
World records* set by the two-time Olympic 10,000m champion.
DEFAR CHALLENGED, BRIEFLY
Gebrselassie setting the tone for the meeting in the late afternoon, it
was appropriate that the two longest events on the evening programme
would produce some drama of their own.
Meseret Defar didn't
promise another world record in the 5000; racing again just 12 days
after her scintillating 14:16.63 performance, another certainly wasn't
expected. When she and compatriots Gelete Burka and Meselech Melkamu
reached 2000m in just over 5:51, it was apparent that another record
would have to wait for another day. But Defar did predict a strong
race, and her compatriots gave her one.
The Olympic champion
made her first attempt to break away with three laps to go, but the
pair in pursuit stayed with her, with Melkamu even retaking the lead
with less than two laps to go. Even when Defar shifted into her
sustained kick for home entering the final lap, the company remained on
her shoulder until she mustered yet another gear over the final 150
metres. Her 14:30.18 winning time might have seemed anti-climactic in
comparison to her performance in the Norwegian capital, but it's
important to bear in mind that only seven other women have ever covered
the distance faster.
"I felt tired after the meeting in Oslo,
and that was also the reason why I did not break the World record
again," Defar said. "Ten days are not enough to recover."
Both Burka (14:31.20) and Melkamu (14:33.83) in second and third were rewarded with career bests.
MOTTRAM OUT-MANEUVERS, OUT-KICKS T. BEKELE
men's 5000 was a much deeper affair, with a large pack in contention
some seven minutes into the race. With five laps to go, Tariku Bekele,
Craig Mottram and Ethiopian teenager Ali Abdoosh were pushing the pace
until Mottram took control a lap later. Moses Masai forged forward to
take his turn at the lead with three laps remaining. Making a move
similar to his decisive one to take last September's World Cup 3000
over Kenenisa Bekele, Mottram again jetted to the front with about 650m
to go, forcing Bekele into an early kick. When he crossed the line and
blew a kiss to the crowd, Mottram was clearly delighted that his plan
"I just wound up faster, faster and faster," said
Mottram, who covered the final lap in about 53 seconds en route to his
13:04.97 victory to Bekele's 13:05.42. "I felt Bekele coming up with
about 650 to go, so I thought, 'OK, let's get it on.'" Smiling, the
Australian added, "I dropped his brother doing the same thing last
year, and I figured he's not that good yet so I'd smash him too."
Abraham Feleke closed fast to finish third, clocking a season's best 13:05.83.
*Marty Post reminds us that the list of 24 could more accurately be described as "24 world best statistically acceptable performances" because some were set at non-IAAF record distances. Here is the complete list:
1) 12:56.96 5000m Hengelo 04Jun94 2) 8:07.46 * 2 miles Kerkrade 27May95 3) 26:43.53 10,000m Hengelo 05Jun95 4) 12:44.39 5000m Zurich 16Aug95 5) 13:10.98 5000m Sindelfingen (i) 27Jan96 6) 7:30.72 3000m Stuttgart (i) 04Feb96 7) 12:59.04 5000m Stockholm (i) 20Feb97 8) 8:01.08 * 2 miles Hengelo 31May97 9) 26:31.32 10,000m Oslo 04Jul97 10) 12:41.86 5000m Zurich 13Aug97 11) 7:26.14 3000m Karlsruhe (i) 25Jan98 12) 4:52.86 * 2000m Birmingham (i) 15Feb98 13) 26:22.75 10,000m Hengelo 01Jun98 14) 12:39.36 5000m Helsinki 13Jun98 15) 12:50.38 5000m Birmingham (i) 14Feb99 16) 27:02 10km Doha 11Dec02 17) 8:04.69 * 2 miles Birmingham (i) 21Feb03 18) 41:22 ** 15km Tilburg 04Sep05 19) 44:23 * 10 miles Tilburg 04Sep05 20) 55:48 20 km Tempe 15Jan06 21) 58:55 Halfmar Tempe 15Jan06 22) 1:11:37 *** 25km Alphen aan den Rijn 12Mar06 23) 56:25.98 20,000m Ostrava 27Jun07 24) 21,285M 1 hour Ostrava 27Jun07 ____________ * not an IAAF record event ** not officially timed *** no post-race EPO test