December 29th, 2007

Gebrselassie aims to beat own world marathon record

LONDON, Dec 29 (Reuters) – World marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie believes he can lower his mark still further when he takes part in the Dubai marathon on Jan. 18.

The twice Olympic 10,000 metres champion, who will be running his final race over 42.195 kms before the Beijing Olympics, clocked two hours four minutes 26 seconds in Berlin last September. “He and I are sure that he can do under 2:04,” his Dutch manager Jos Hermens told Reuters by telephone. “But he’s 34 and this might be his last chance.”

Hermens said Gebrselassie, who has been training in his native Ethiopia, had run a 15-km race this month. “His preparation is going well,” Hermens said. “He’s in great shape.”

Gebrselassie, who has set 26 world records, will be paced by former world half-marathon champion Fabiano Joseph of Tanzania and the winner of the 2002 Boston and New York marathons Rodgers Rop of Kenya.

The prize pot for Dubai is $1 million with a record $250,000 for the winners of the men’s and women’s races. If Gebrselassie does break the world record he will earn a bonus of $1 million.

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