London Marathon: Tergat's absence gives Gebrselassie golden chance for first win
Saturday 22 April 2006
The 33-year-old Ethiopian, now concentrating on the roads after a track career that has earned him a fistful of gold medals and world records, has been an ebullient figure in the race hotel this week. With Tergat missing, Gebrselassie has the perfect opportunity to claim his first London title after an ideal period of preparation.
He set a world record of 58min 55sec for the half-marathon in Phoenix in January, and last month he claimed a world record for 25 kilometres in the Netherlands, recording 1hr 11min 37sec.
Although other dangerous runners remain - notably Kenya's defending champion Martin Lel, his fellow countryman Evans Rutto, Morocco's Jauad Gharib and the former world record-holder, Khalid Khannouchi of the United States - Gebrselassie can afford to be confident as he utilises the experience gained on this course in making his marathon debut in 2002.
On that occasion, he finished third behind Khannouchi and Tergat, despite a superb time of 2hr 6min 35sec.
"In 2002 I ended up being the pacemaker for almost 40km," he said. "That won't happen this time. I will treat it more like a championship. I was very new at marathon running then and to be honest I thought it would be easy. So I ran faster and faster and, of course, at the end, I was very tired.
"42km is a long way. You never know what can happen. I have learned to be patient. Also, in 2002 I made the mistake of only drinking water, but this year I will be taking carbohydrate drinks. I've learned that when you run marathons it's not like running the 5,000m or the 10,000m. It needs attention."
That is a lesson that resonates through the whole event and James Cracknell, recently back from his transatlantic row, will be running his first marathon alongside his colleagues from the triumphant Olympic rowing four of 2000, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent.
Paula Radcliffe's foot injury has prevented her making an early impact in the two-year World Marathon Majors series, which began with this month's Boston Marathon and offers the best male and female runners $500,000 (£280,000) each.
The women's race looks a close call between the pair who contested the recent Chicago race, Deena Kastor of the United States and Romania's Constantina Tomescu-Dita, although Kenya's 2004 winner Margaret Okayo could beat both if her back injury allows.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Latest in Sport
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
'Adel Taarabt is about three stone overweight. I can't pick him' - Harry Redknapp
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
QPR vs Liverpool match report: Liverpool snatch victory in seven late minutes of madness
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...