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News Archive

Gebrselassie smashes UK all-comers' record in Manchester

Haile Gebrselassie showed his stature as the world's great-ever

distance runner when setting a United Kingdom's All-Comers' record in

Sunday's BUPA Great Manchester Run. Gebrselassie struck 14 seconds off

the previous mark set by Kenya's Felix Limo in Swansea nearly three

years ago, with a breathtaking performance of 27minutes 25seconds. The

32-year-old Ethiopian's speedy victory saw both runner-up Juan Carlos

de la Ossa and Sergiy Lebid dragged to Spanish and Ukrainian national

road running records. de la Ossa the last contestant to survive

Gebrselassie's relentless pace, was the first Spaniard ever to smash

the 28minutes barrier on the roads, lowering his own record by seven

seconds to 27min 55sec.

Lebid, five-times the European cross country champion, ran

himself to a standstill at the head of the 20,000 field, slicing

10seconds from his own Ukrainian best. But the day belonged to

Gebrselassie who was at the front of the leading pack which flew

through the first kilometre in a lightning two minutes 41 seconds, then

by the half distance had, apart from de la Ossa, broken the field. That

wasn't surprising as they motored through five kilometres in 13min

52sec which made it inevitable Gebrselassie holder of 17 world records,

was going to decimate Limo's fastest-ever time on British soil.

Gebrselassie then rid himself of the challenge of de las Ossa

with a swift 2min 51sec kilometre split, completing the second circuit

in a very impressive 13min 33sec. "I could have run under 27 minutes if

there had been pacemakers," said Gebrselassie highly delighted to have

performed so well, in his first race for over three months, after his

rampant run. The world record holder for the distance with a time of

27min 02sec, said: "I was a little bit worried about the weather and

the possibility of the wind getting up," but to his relief, Manchester

failed to live up to its reputation as a wet city.

"It was a little bit on the cold side and as I said if I hadn't been

running on my own, it would have been a much faster time," added

Gebrselassie, who last week revealed his Championships track career, is

over. Gebrselassie planning an autumn marathon insisted his win

although highly welcome, didn't tell him anything about how he will

fare when seriously stepping up to the distance. "They're two different

races and totally different in concept," said Gebrselassie who missed

last month's Flora London Marathon when not quite racing fit after

recovering from an Achilles operation.

But he warned his rivals: "Of course I can run two hours four minutes.

I will have to if I want to break the world record," currently standing

to a previous Manchester champion Paul Tergat who ran 2hr 04min 55sec

in Berlin in 2003.

Chris Davies who managed to hang on to the leading pack until just

before five kilometres, lowered his personal best by fifteen seconds

when maintaining his leadership of the British rankings with an

excellent fifth place in 28min 37sec.