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Haile Gebrselassie has retired from competitive running
by on Sunday, May 10, 2015  (5 comments)

I will always remember both the ferociously competitive spirit and the huge smile

In case you haven't already heard, the great Haile Gebrselassie has officially retired from competitive running. He says he will keep running and will remain involved in the sport but he is done competing.

As many runners of similar age, I grew up as a fan of running watching and cheering for Geb. Actually, I was split between Geb and Paul Tergat, his chief rival through most of the 1990s on the track and into the 2000s, first on the track and then in the marathon. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a better two person rivalry in distance running history. Geb always seemed to have the upper hand but Tergat was always there From trading world records to the legendary 2000 Olympic 10,000 meter finish, they were always neck and neck.

Beyond the amazing competitions and times posted by Geb, though, I will also always remember that broad smile you can see in the image above. He always seemed to be friendly with everyone and truly love what he was doing. His enthusiasm for running and for the spirit of competition was amazing.

For all that you have done for the sport and for the great inspiration you have been for so many, thank you Geb. You are a true living legend.

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Its sad to hear that!! I hope He can continue running and continue being a huge influence in our sport. He is one of my favorite runners. I think what He did was terrific!!

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He tweeted that he would continue running and remain involved in the sport, he's simply retiring from competition.

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Who else remembers August 1997? Possibly one of the most staggering months in modern track and field history in terms of world records.

August 4th: Geb lowers Salah Hissou's 10,000 meter world record from 26:38 to 26:31 in Oslo, Norway.

August 13th: Geb lowers his own 5000 meter world record from 12:44 to 12:41 in Zurich, Switzerland.

At this point, it looks like it's going to be the month of Geb. Two world records only 9 days apart. Then another 9 days passes...

August 22nd: Geb loses both of these world records in a single day as Daniel Komen runs 12:39 and Paul Tergat runs 26:27, both in Brussels, Belgium.

I remember on August 25th (the 22nd was a Friday) going into cross country practice. Before practice, I was telling a teammate what happened on Friday. At the start of practice, Coach threw a bit of trivia out on the team. Who lost two world records in the same meet on Friday? I looked right at the guy I was talking with about this and said something like come on, I just told you his name. He couldn't remember, nobody else knew, so I got a t-shirt for knowing that trivia.

For the record, in June 1998, Geb got both of those world records back and held them until Kenenisa Bekele broke them in late May/early June 2004.

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Nice acomplisments there!! It seems that your temmate was not listening at all! It was cool you got the T-shirt!

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He wasn't a big running fan. I'm sure he knew nothing of Geb at the time and the name meant nothing to him. I didn't really want the shirt. I was hoping he'd get it. I got the same shirt a couple days earlier for some other reason I can't even recall. I think I now have three of that same shirt in my basement somewhere.

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