Gebrselassie ready for a good half marathon in Vienna

Haile Gebrselassie at the press conference in Vienna. Photo Credit: Giancarlo Colombo /

Haile Gebrselassie will continue his career with the intention of chasing world records in the master division. The Ethiopian superstar announced this during today’s press conference in Vienna.

On Sunday the 39 year-old will run the OMV Champions Race in the Austrian capital. It will be his first race this year.

The half marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, will be staged parallel to the Vienna City Marathon. In total a record number of 40,957 runners have entered the event.

Regarding a possible first master world record Vienna’s half marathon comes four days too early for Haile Gebrselassie. The two-time Olympic 10,000m champion and former marathon world record holder (2:03:59), who established 20 official and seven unofficial world records during his unique career, will turn 40 next Thursday. But the record can wait.

“ Vienna is a wonderful city. I am looking forward to the race, which has a great atmosphere. For me the Vienna City Marathon is special,” said Haile Gebrselassie, who spent some time on Friday morning with the Austrian President. Heinz Fischer invited the runner and Race Director Wolfgang Konrad for breakfast into the Wiener Hofburg.

On Sunday Haile Gebrselassie will go for a hattrick in the half marathon. There are only very few road races in the world, where he has competed three times in a row. Besides Vienna the marathons of Berlin and Dubai plus the Manchester 10k race are among them.

“I am really fit now. I have no injuries and my training went well. Of course at my age you are getting problems sometimes. But I am fine now,” said Haile Gebrselassie, joking during the press conference: “By the way, I am 20 now. Yes, two times 10 – not two times 20!”

“For me a simple day without running is not a good day,” said Haile Gebrselassie. “Of course I could now say I will just run for fun. But I need a motivation for running. I want to prove what I can achieve. And I want to know how my condition is and what is possible for me. That is the reason why I still train very seriously. I will continue and I want to chase the world records for the age categories of 40, 45 and 50.”

Regarding Sunday’s race Haile Gebrselassie said: “My goal is to run a good time. It is not only about running against the others but also against myself.” He will be competing against four elite runners in the OMV Champions Race.

The strongest challenge is likely to come from Kenya’s Hosea Kipkemboi (61:48) and from young Ethiopian debutant Mekuant Ayenew.

Asked if he still feels capable of running a sub one hour time in the half marathon Haile Gebrselassie answered: “Yes, why not. Sunday will be a test for me to see where I stand. There is always a difference between training and competition.” 

Haile Gebrselassie also revealed that he intends to run a marathon later this year. “I want to run a good marathon time. I have not decided which races I will compete in after Vienna.” But he said: “I will speak with Mark Milde (the Race Director of the Berlin Marathon)”.

“For me running is still number one in my life. But my business meanwhile is of the same importance because I am responsible for a lot of people who work for me,” explained Haile Gebrselassie, who refused the suggestion that he could become a coach.

“No, I would not be a good coach. I tend to train too much. So my athletes would all be overtrained and would not do well in competition. For now this is no option. But who knows, may be in the distant future.”

Elite runners for the OMV Champions Race













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The OMV Champions Race starts at 8.57 am on Sunday (local time) and will be shown live on the internet at

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