Haile Gebrselassie Retires After New York Marathon

November 8, 2010

“I have had no discussions with my manager, with anybody else, but I have discussed it with myself and I think it’s better to stop here,” the 37-year-old told reporters. “Let me stop and do other work after this.”

Gebrselassie turned to the marathon after failing in 2004 to become the first man to win the Olympic 10,000 meters three times. He ran the 2008 Berlin marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds to shave 27 seconds off the world record he set at the same event a year earlier. An asthmatic, Gebrselassie missed the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of concerns about pollution.

Gebremariam completed today’s race in 2:08:14. Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya was next to finish, 64 seconds behind, and Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, also of Kenya, was third in 2:10:39.

“It’s so special for me just to finish,” the 26-year-old Gebremariam told reporters.

Gebremariam, the 2009 cross-country world champion, is the only man to win in New York at the first attempt since Rod Dixon in 1983.

Edna Kiplagat won the women’s race in 2:28:20. Shalane Flanagan of the U.S. was runner-up, 20 seconds behind Kiplagat and 21 seconds ahead of third-placed Mary Keitany, another Kenyan. Three U.S. women finished among the top 10.

45,000 Runners

Meb Keflezighi, who in 2009 became the first American man to win the New York Marathon in 27 years, was the top U.S. men’s finisher in sixth place. Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea and became a U.S. citizen in 1998, was the only runner from the host nation to win the race since Alberto Salazar, who triumphed three years in a row from 1980 through 1982.

Almost 45,000 runners take part in the 26 mile, 385-yard race, which begins on Staten Island and winds through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx before finishing in Central Park. Gebremariam and Kiplagat earned $130,000, with the second-placed runners receiving $65,000. Prize money totaled $600,000.