October 29, 2015
For the generation that came of age with LetsRun.com, it does not get any better than Thursday afternoon at the incredible, brand-new two-story TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion as four all-time greats Haile Gebrselassie, Paul Tergat, Paula Radcliffe, and Tegla Loroupe were inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
Gebrselassie, Tergat, Radcliffe and Loroupe all at one point held the world record in the marathon, but more importantly they helped transform the sport and inspire a generation. Without the inspiration of Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat when the Brojos (the founders of LetsRun.com) were in college there would be no LetsRun.com.
The ties between Tergat and Radcliffe are LetsRun.com are even stronger. LRC co-founder Rojo (Robert Johnson) arranged a visit to the White House with Paul Tergat in 2001 and co-founder LRC co-founder Wejo (Weldon Johnson) would ‘escort’ Paula Radcliffe to her first world record at the 2002 Chicago Marathon.
While LRC caught up with Tergat and Radcliffe on Thursday, the highlight was getting 10 minutes with the greatest distance runner of all-time according to many Haile Gebrselassie. Full video below with textual highlights from Geb’s comments after the video. (Plus we have the brief induction speeches of the others)
Although the 42 year old Gebrselassie officially retired from competition earlier this year, he is a runner through and through, still training twice a day some days and running not less than 90 miles last week. Yes 90 miles a week for Geb in his retirement.
Every LRCer can relate to Geb saying, “Running is just addictive. I do my morning session. In the afternoon again I have to go in the gym. I don’t know why… in the afternoon my body tells me, ‘hey go there and sweat again…I ask some other people and they tell me… ‘we don’t care if we don’t run.’ For me it is different.”
More highlights below the video.
Some More Highlights in Case You Don’t Have Ten Minutes:
Geb Says He Doesn’t Compete Anymore But He’s Still Running 90 Miles a Week and Will Run Great Ethiopian Run Later This Month:
“I can not do fast and hard uphill training anymore… I wish to compete again and again, but those runners like Meb they can (still) compete.”
“(Last week) I did not less than 90 miles.”
Geb Said One of His Great Regrets is Not Winning the NYC Marathon and He’d Like to Finish NY (He dropped out in his only appearance in NY (2010) and announced a premature retirement afterward):
“Even (this) coming Sunday I wish to run here as a normal jogger, but everyone wants to see Haile Gebrselassie in front of the elite athletes, but that doesn’t work. Let me wait three years and I’ll come back and finish where I stopped (when he dropped out in 2010)”
On How to Beat Mo Farah:
“I know Mo Farah, he’s a good athlete… I think Mo Farah, this is his time.”
“If you want to be a winner in any competition first you have to know your competitors. That is what he knows (about his competitors now and outkicks them)… If I had the same shape as in the (late) 1900s and beginning of the 2000s, maybe I’d be difficult for Mo Farah, because I know (how to beat him)… He (Mo Farah) knows the last kick… I’d finish him early…”
Discuss on our messagboard: MB: Haile G tells LetsRun.com how he’d beat Mo Farah – “I’d finish him early”
On Who the Greatest Marathoner Now Is: “
(Eliud) Kipchoge is the one.”
On How to Grow the Sport:
“As you know athletics is a little bit down…. Track and field has to be something attractive for the audience, (when that happens) the sponsors will come very easily.”
Geb added he supported Seb Coe for the IAAF presidency.
Geb Said Abebe Bikila Made it All Possible: In addition to being inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame, Geb also won the Abebe Bikila Award that goes to a person who has made a significant impact in long-distance running. That was fitting because Geb said Bikila, who won the 1960 Olympic Marathon (while barefoot) and the 1964 Olympic marathon, paved the way for not only all the great Ethiopian runners after him, but also for the Kenyans as well. Geb said, “Myself compared to Abebe Bikilia, I am nobody. He did what we can not do, (win) a marathon barefoot.”
Paula Radcliffe Induction Speech (2:55)
Paul Tergat Induction Speech (2:24)
Haile Gebrselassie Induction Speech (1:34)
Tegla Loroupe Induction Speech (1:44)
(She said Geb inspired her to break the marathon world record, but told him marathons were for crazy people which she reminded him after he broke the world record).
Press Conference with All 4 Legends: