As you may know, Haile Gebrselassie just ran the second fastest marathon ever in Dubai--2:04:53--behind only his world record 2:04:26 in Berlin last year. Apparently, he had some issues with the pace runners that caused him to miss out on the $1,000,000 prize (yes, 6 zeros) for breaking the world record. He'll have to be content with the $250,000 prize for first place...
What's even more interesting, however, is that Geb is thinking about not running the marathon in Beijing. He has a breathing problem that has already caused him to drop out of London, and he doesn't want to risk running the marathon in Beijing's polluted air. He's very worried about it, as he says he plans to run until he the 2012 London Olympics, and he doesn't want to risk the race in Beijing shortening his career. The article on all this is here.
This is pretty interesting to me. Geb is 34 years old. One would think this will be his last chance to win an Olympic gold. But Geb sees this sport as a business, and he doesn't want to risk his livelihood (or that of the 400 people who work for his various businesses in Ethiopia) to chase a gold medal.
Of course, I'm assuming he can't beat Kenenisa Bekele and Zersenay Tadese in the 10,000 meters with his 34 year old legs. Maybe Geb thinks I'm wrong.
It would be a shame if the Greatest Distance Runner Ever decides not to run the marathon in Beijing, but you have to respect any athlete willing to make a choice like that. Geb has long term goals, and he's not going to sacrifice those for short term success. A lesson many high school and college runners would be wise to learn.
In other news, I made a lens on Haile Gebrselassie. It's got a biography, tons of great race videos, and some interactive stuff as well. There's also a link in the sidebar. Let me know what you think.