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2007 New York Half Marathon Men's Recap: Geb Runs Super Impressive 59:24, Abdi Impresses in 2nd Place
By LetsRun.com
Aug 5, 2007
New York, NY
*Photo Gallery
*LetsRun.com Post Race Videos
(Interviews with Geb, Abdi, Kibet, Ndereba, Fasil Bizuneh)
*Women's Recap

Haile Gebrselassie took to the streets of New York City on Sunday for the first time in his illustrious career and he left them with the New York City Half Marathon title and course record (59:24). The convincing win kept Gebrselassie undefeated at the half marathon distance, as he got his 8th win in 8 tries. American Abdi Abdirahman attempted to break open the race just past the half hour mark, but had to settle for a very impressive 2nd place finish in a personal best 1:00:29.

The race started in Central Park and ran clockwise on the hilly 10k loop. The pace was fast from the get go as a pack of 5 went through 5k in 14:11. The fast pace continued through 10k (28:22) as the lead pack was whittled down to three, Gebrselassie, Abdirahman, and World Marathon Majors Leader Robert Cheruiyot (Cheruiyot has won his last 3 marathons, Boston twice and Chicago once).

After the runners exited the park and headed towards Central Park in the 8th mile Abdirahman put in a surge attempting to break open the race. Cheruiyot was the first to break and the race was down to Abdi and Geb. Abdirahman opened up a one or 2 meter lead on Gebrselassie. Before race watchers had the time to think Abdirahman might do the almost unthinkable and defeat Gebrselassie,Gebrselassie continued to run at the quickened tempo and was 5, then 10 meters, then 20 meters ahead of Abdirahman. Abdirahman had broken open the race, but in the process he gave Gebrselassie the opportunity he wanted to seize the race. It was Gebrselassie versus the clock the rest of the way as he only lengthened his lead to run an impressive 59:24 and get the win. Gebrselassie has yet to totally master the full marathon distance, but he has been untouchable at the half marathon his career. This was Geb's 2nd fastest half marathon ever.

Afterwards, Gebrselassie said Abdi urged him to continue pushing the pace after Abdi went to the lead. Geb seized the opportunity to pull away for the win. Geb said, "Abdi told me 'Go.'... I thought maybe he was trying to use me as the pacemaker. 'Ok you ask me to go' (Geb thought), so I left quickly and kept the pace. When I came to Times Square... I push (even) faster."

Geb's next race will be his Berlin Marathon title defense in September. Geb said of Berlin, ""When you prepare for the marathon, the half marathon is not that difficult." He has clearly has shown that to be the case during his own career.

Geb enjoyed running through Times Square and on the big stage of New York City. "It's wonderful. You cross the city. You are not alone... You are with the big buildings," said Gebrselassie. And best of all for ING NYC Marathon Director Mary Wittenberg, he promised to run the NYC Marathon before he retires, "I promise you I will run the New York Marathon before I stop running."

Abdi Impresses Geb
Abdi Abdirahman has performed consistently well the last two years, but his race on Sunday may have been at another level. He surprised many observers by trying to take the race to Gebrselassie instead of just being content to run against the great one.

Gebrselassie had high praise for Abdirahman before and after the race. Abdirahman ran 1:00:29, the #2 time ever by an American on a somewhat hilly course (although the point to point course isn't valid to most statisticians for record purposes). After the race Geb said of Abdi, "Abdi at this time is a very good athlete like me. The very top (of the sport)."

Afterwards Abdi said of his race, "I made a surge. I dropped Cheruiyot (but) Haile is the greatest runner (ever), man. I have total respect for him. He's still at the top of his game. I gave it my best...That was the plan to see who would come with me. I ended up second. Getting second to him, the greatest distance runner of all time, I'm not ashamed (but) I wanted to win the race."

Abdi was hoping during the race to dip under the one hour barrier, but was still pleased with his time considering the hilly start of the race and summer weather. He said, "(Considering) All the conditions, I think it is under 60 my time (in better conditions), I'll take that. At the same time, 60:30 in New York City, I'll take that any day."

While Abdi has emerged as the most consistent 10k through marathon runner in America the last 2 years, he said his sights are still on bigger things, competing with the best in the world, and he showed that by challenging Gebrselassie on Sunday. Afterwards Abdi said, "I've been successful the last couple of years I've always been up there with one of the best 10ks in the US which is not my goal. My goal is to run one of the best 10ks in the world."

Abdi now is turning his focus to the World Champs where he will get the chance to race against the best in the World at 10k. Then, in November he'll be back on the streets of New York for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Abdi clearly likes running in Central Park. "The small hills of Central Park I think they will favor me as I don't have that much weight to carry. I'm a lean mean machine. That's why I call myself the black cactus." We never knew how fast cacti were until Sunday.

*Photo Gallery
*LetsRun.com Post Race Videos
(Interviews with Geb, Abdi, Kibet, Ndereba, Fasil Bizuneh)
*Women's Recap

Top 10
1) Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopia 59:24 (Course Record)
2) Abdi Abdirahman USA 1:00:29
3) Robert Cheruiyot Kenya 1:00:58
4) James Kwambai Kenya 1:01:03
5) Joseph Chirlee Georgia 1:02:47
6) Alan Culpepper USA 1:03:34
7) Demesse Tefera Ethiopia 1:03:36
8) Worku Beyi Ethiopia 1:03:39
9) Gurrmessa Megerssa Ethiopia 1:03:53
10) Dylan Wykes Canada 1:04:04

5k 14:11 top 5 runners
10k 28:22 Gebrselassie, Cheruiyot, Abdirahman; 4th James Kwambai (28:46); 7th Alan Culpepper (29:46)
15k: 42:10 Haile Gebrselassie 42:10, Abdi Abdirahman 42:28, Robert Cheruiyot 42:35, James Kwambai 43:19, Alan Culpepper 9th 44:59
20k: 56:14 Haile Gebrselassie, 57:16 Abdi, 57:39 Cheruiyot, Culpepper 1:00:21

Full Results here

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