Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gebrselassie Signs Up to Run in GNR

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gebrselassie Signs Up to Run in GNR

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Haile Gebrselassie, arguably the greatest distance runner in athletics history, has set his sights on breaking Paul Kosgei's course record after confirming that he will head a fascinating field at next month's BUPA Great North Run.

But Brendan Foster last night warned the Ethiopian that he will have to be at his legendary best to prosper on Tyneside, as negotiations continue to provide Gebrselassie with some world-class opposition on September 26.

The 31-year-old, who has set 18 world records during a decade of dominance, will attempt to win a third successive Olympic gold medal in the 10,000m when he takes to the track in Athens later this month.

Gebrselassie plans to concentrate on a career in road racing on his return from the Greek capital and with Foster confident that his star signing will be a major success on the streets, the 24th running of the Great North Run promises to be one of the best yet.

"The Great North Run is a very popular event and I know all about it," said the exalted African, who had to pull out of the event four years ago after he suffered a serious injury while defending his Olympic title in Sydney.

"I have not really seen the course and the record will depend a lot on the weather. I know that in the North of England it is often cold but, if the weather is good enough and there is no wind, there's no reason why I can't run faster than the previous best. Anything is possible so why not?"

Gebrselassie finally agreed to race on Tyneside after giving a trademark performance at Crystal Palace seven days ago in what was his farewell track appearance on British soil, breaking his own UK 5,000m record. For Foster, the capture of his signature was the reward for a great deal of patience.

"We're delighted that the world's greatest distance runner has decided to set off on his new career in the North-East," he said. "Haile will now attempt to rewrite the record books on the roads, just as he has done on the track, and there could be no better place to start then here. …

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