Regular readers of my blog (Are there any?) will know that I have a huge admiration for Haile Gebrselassie - I'm sure almost anyone who has a knowledge of distance running and is a runner will respect Haile for the longevity of his career, his many world records and his never ending smile and the ambassadorial role he has in the sport. Here is a man currently under pressure to gain selection for 2012 and prove that there is life in the old dog yet!
Haile ran 2 hours 8 minutes and 17 seconds in the Tokyo Marathon last week to finish fourth
prompting a flood of headlines such as "Geb's bid falls short"- Athletics Weekly and "Haile Gebrselassie Olympic hopes in doubt" BBC. Haile himself described the last 5km of the marathon as the worst he has ever run!
Lets put his performance into perspective here....2 hours 8 mins 17 has only been beaten once by a British Runner - Steve Jones who ran 2.07.13 in Chicago (1985) and is the current British Marathon record holder. 2nd on that list is Charlie Spedding who ran 2.08.33 at London in the same year 1985. In the all time top 25 Brits performances only two runners appear in this list with performances post 2000 - Tomas Abyu and Scott Overall.
Currently Haile is ranked 22nd Ethiopian Marathon Runner in 2012 and will have to pull something like a 2:05 out of the bag soon to secure selection! Now thats pressure!
My own marathon training is going well. I opted for a midweek interval session of 15 x 400m this week instead of a midweek long run. Bit of a shock to the system but overall averaged under 5 minute miling for this set - am hoping this might just give the fast twitch fibers a jolt as they have been resting up a bit lately.
That meant todays long run was going to be a bit tough. On the cards was a 7 mile warm up steady run (aim was under 7.15 pace - completed in exactly 7 min miling) followed by a 12 mile marathon paced run (pace target was 6.17 miling completed in 6.12). All in all it was a tough run but I managed it and feel like some progress has been made towards the marathon goal.
Here is a really awful story that I had not heard before but possibly there is a lesson to us all about being prepared for all eventualities and weathers!
28 year old Kenyan runner Marko Cheseto spent two days lost in snow whilst out running in Alaska. When he was found his feet were frozen solid and paramedics were unable to remove his shoes from his feet eventually leading to amputation of his feet - here is a link to the full story!
This week my UKA clearance came through and I can now compete for my new club New Marske Harriers....having not raced yet in 2012 I am desperate to get on the start line. Thirsk 10 on the 25th March is still my target race but this will be a build up to the big one in May...9 weeks tomorrow is the First Marathon of the North. This will be my third road marathon having done London in 2000 (2.48) and Nottingham in 2005 (2.52). It must be an age thing but I aren't half enjoying the long stuff at the moment!