Haile Gebrselassie And Paul Tergat Together In New York City
November 5, 2010
The New York Road Runners have taken the pre-race press conference to new levels this week at the 2010 ING New York City Marathon. All week they've broadcast the proceedings live and had our favorite announcer Toni Reavis and former Times of London writer David Powell leading a live "Race Week Live" Broadcast. Think ESPN SportsCenter but for running, or as Toni joked, the LetsRun.com Olympic Trials show on steroids. If our sport is a pro sport, we need to cover it professionally. Thumbs Up to the NYRR for doing so.
Thursday may have seen the media mob surrounding the Chilean miner, Edison Peņa, but Friday in our opinion the NYRR took things to a new level. How? By having Paul Tergat, in town to receive the Abebe Bikila humanitarian award introduce pre-race favorite Haile Gebrselassie (if you're not too familiar with their rivalry, click here to see the finish of their incredible race in Sydney in the 2000 Olympic 10k final).
Then the two fierce rivals and friends sat side-by-side, and talked about their incredible careers. Perhaps we should say more than side-by-side because at times Gebrselassie put his hand on Tergat's thigh. The friendship between these two was evident.
Tergat said of the pair, "We are brothers" and it was a treat to see them together.
Gebrselassie is a firm believer in the power of the mind and has minimized talk of his age (37) leading up to New York. When a reporter asked about his age, Geb flashed his smile and said, "You think I'm old?" He then added, "Well, one thing I want to tell you, even if I cannot break the record, I have to tell to myself I have to break it. This is what sport is. I mean, of course my plan is to [bring] down my time. I will do it. Why not? The more you age, the more you're getting stronger. I still feel like age of 20." (quotes above from this NYRR release)
Gebrselassie has done everything in the sport except win a marathon with stiff competition and Tergat feels all Geb needs in his career is a win before "millions" in New York. Tergat said, He has achieved everything - and what is missing is New York."
When asked what chance others runners would have versus Gebrselassie at the end if it came to a sprint like Tergat's incredible victory in 2005, Tergat said they would have "no chance." However, we've gathered from being here this week that Gebrselassie does not want it to come down to a sprint with a few guys at the end. Expect him to try to break ahead earlier.
Gebrselassie has dismissed the hills of NY as a big challenge and added Friday, "If you've been to Ethiopia, you know that the country is full of hills. It's the question of tactics." He is hoping for a fast pace on Friday.
Pre-race press conferences usually aren't the most interesting things but watching Haile and Geb together is a rare treat.
Haile Gebrselassie And Paul Tergat together In NYC
(ignore the thumbnail below - this video is Geb and Tergat)
If you haven't seen "Race Week Live," you might want to check it out. All episodes here.