There may be some debate as to who the greatest male distance runner of all time is, as both Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele have pretty impressive (and in my mind, equivalent) resumes. But one thing is certain, Haile Gebrselassie has done much more outside of running than his countryman.
As this article illustrates, Haile Gebrselassie is far from just a distance runner these days. He is also the head of a construction company that builds "cinemas, convention centres, petrol stations, schools, sports stores, cafes and fitness centres" as well as the Chairman of the Great Ethiopian Run, an event with over 32,000 participants. He's also a father of three. (You can also see some videos of Haile's daily life at the link in his name above.)
I more or less knew that, though. Two new things struck me from this article. First, Haile's efforts on behalf of women in Ethiopia should be praised more publicly. I have read extensively about Haile, but didn't know about this aspect of his business. My admiration for Haile the person continues to grow.
Second, think of the focus that Haile must apply to his daily activities in order to achieve the level of success that he's reached. It's one thing to run a great marathon, and quite another to do so while holding down a full-time job. I have no doubt that Haile's built a great team around him at his company. But to be able to continually excel at his running despite the myriad distractions that inevitably arise when running a business is extraordinary.
I have long been of the opinion that the best athletes are able to excel not because of physical talent or how hard they work, but because of how focused they are when they are working hard. Haile is a man whom one can easily see falling into the "Multi-Tasking" or "Over-Extended" categories of The Engagement Scale. But you can tell from his performances that he never does.
He manages to stay firmly "Committed" to his running, if not "All-Consumed". With everything else in his life, that can only be accomplished through unparalleled focus. When he trains, he uses his time and energy as effectively and efficiently as possible. And when he isn't training, he obviously approaches his other commitments with an equal focus.