x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rain a pain for Gebrselassie

Haile Gebrselassie wins the Dubai Marathon but a heavy downpour scuppers his hopes of a new world record.

Haile Gebrselassie rejoices at winning the race with a time of 2:05:29 in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2009 in Dubai.
Haile Gebrselassie rejoices at winning the race with a time of 2:05:29 in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2009 in Dubai.

DUBAI // Haile Gebrselassie missed out on a US$1 million pay day when a heavy downpour in the final throes of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon scuppered his hopes of a new world record. The Ethiopian running great was on course at the halfway mark, when he posted a time of 61 mins 45 secs, which he had forecast as the "perfect" split time before the race. He was still 10 seconds under world record pace at the 30km post, but his bid unravelled thereafter as the rain, which had been light throughout, gathered into a torrent. However, the jovial runner refused to be downhearted. Gebrselassie, 35, joked: "If I complained to God, it would not be good. "Everything was perfect. Honestly speaking, this was my best time in weather such as this. "There would have been a chance of getting injured as well, as this weather puts your hamstrings at risk." He eventually clocked 2hrs 5mins 29secs, which is 90 seconds slower than the best he set in Berlin in September, yet still ranks among the fastest times in history.

He added: "Everybody was predicting I would break the record, but when I saw the weather I thought the time I achieved would be good. I am really very happy. "The organisation was perfect, the pacemakers were perfect, but when we came back into this weather, it was most unexpected." Ahmed al Kamali, the event coordinator, said: "We can control everything - except for the weather."

pradley@thenational.ae