News Archive

News Archive

Gebrselassie and Kastor London’s favourites


London the top-class marathon of

the year will be held on Sunday, although the organizers had to cope with the

pull out of Paul Tergat (Kenya)

and Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) due to injury. But there are still enough stars in the race.

Olympic Champion Stefano Baldini (Italy) meets World Champion Jaouad Gharib (Marocco), and then there is the

Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie as well. It’s about prestige and a lot of money: It

is not only the London bonus; it

is as well about points for the million jackpot of the new World Marathon Majors

Series. The Flora London Marathon has not only the best

field of superstars but is as well the biggest

spring marathon. About 35,000 runners will participate, cheered on by millions

of spectators along the course. Haile Gebrselassie and Deena Kastor (USA) are

the bookmakers’ favourites in London.




The elite athletes are running for a total prize money of 300,000

US-Dollar. 55,000 US-Dollar earns the winner. More bonuses for fast times are

available. The one who will break the world record on Sunday will get 175,000

US-Dollar. The one for such an achievement in London is of course Haile Gebrselassie. The

33 year-old has collected 20 world records so far in his outstanding career. On

the track he dominated for years on the long distances and was two times Olympic

Champion and four times World Champion at 10,000m.



<p">After the Olympic Games 2004 he transferred to the road. His big goal

is the marathon world record, which was set by his Kenyan rival Paul Tergat in

2003 in Berlin where he clocked

2:04:55 hours. He was on the

start list as well until a couple of days ago. But a calf injury threw him out

of the race. „I am so disappointed. It was my dream to race against Haile again,” said Paul

Tergat, who lost the 10,000 m battle at the Olympics’ final 2004, but beat him

in the London Marathon in 2002. At that time the US-American Khalid Khannouchi

won the race in a then world record time of 2:05:38 hours ahead of Tergat and

Gebrselassie. He will be on the starting line as well.





know that I can break the marathon world record, but I don’t know when,“ said

Haile Gebrselassie, after he had missed Tergat’s record at the Amsterdam marathon last October, although

clocking a very fast 2:06:20

hours. But prior to the London Marathon, the Ethiopian plays down expectations.

He already broke two world records during the past months in the half marathon

(58:55 minutes) and at 25 k (1:11:37 hours). „If you are talking about a marathon world record, everybody

has to know that it is not enough to be in good shape. Everything has to be

perfect. The weather, the course and the temperatures are important as well.

Everything has to fit perfectly.“ Haile Gebrselassie expects a tactical race.

“In 2002 I ended up being the pace maker for almost 40 k

and then finished third,” said Gebrselassie. “That won’t happen this





After world record holder Paula Radcliffe (Great

Britain/2:15:25) had to pull out

due to a foot injury, the women’s race will be totally open. Among the

favourites are Athens’ bronze

medallist Deena Kastor (USA/PB: 2:21:16), Kenyan Margaret Okayo (2:20:43) and Susan Chepkemei (2:23:12).



<p">The London winner

will besides the bonus also get 25 points for the race for the World Marathon

Majors’ jackpot. In a two year cycle a men’s and women’s winner will be awarded

to share one million US-Dollar. After the BAA Boston Marathon London is the

second WMM race this year. In fall the real,- BERLIN MARATHON, the LaSalle Bank

Chicago Marathon and the ING New York City Marathon will follow. </p">