Gebrselassie To Celebrate National Running Day In New York City

The Ethiopian great is becoming a regular visitor to the Big Apple.

By David Monti

(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (27-May) — World marathon record holder and two-time Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie will celebrate next Wednesday’s National Running Day by joining the New York Road Runners’ Mighty Milers Fun Run at Ichan Stadium here.

Gebrselassie, 37, will be on hand as more than 1,500 New York City schoolchildren take part in various events, including tug-of-war, relay races, and a one-mile run for older kids. The day’s activities at the Randall’s Island venue will begin at 10:00 a.m. and are scheduled to end by 12:30 p.m. “You know, I always tell all people to run at least 30 minutes a day,” Gebrselassie said in prepared remarks. “It cost you some time, but it refreshes the mind and makes you work more effective during the day. That’s why I support this National Running Day so much.”

Last in New York for the NYC Half-Marathon in March where he was forced to stop midway through the race because of an asthma attack, Gebrselassie has recently been focused on opening his new resort hotel in Hawassa, about four hours drive from his home in Addis Ababa. New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg attended the opening and got to see businessman Gebrselassie hard at work, personally attending to all of the details in opening the lakefront resort (http://www.haileresort.com).

Wittenberg is thrilled that Gebrselassie has accepted her invitation to attend NYRR’s National Running Day events in New York. “There is no better person to inspire the kids and runners across the nation on National Running Day than Haile,” said Wittenberg through a news release. “We are excited to have arguably the greatest ambassador of running with us today.” National Running Day was founded one year ago to raise awareness of the benefits of regular running, from maintaining a steady weight to promoting heart health.

Non-competitive events will be held throughout the country to motive people to get outside and get moving. Gebrselassie clearly likes the whole idea, and will be making a special trip to New York just for the occasion. “It’s a wonderful idea which we all together should spread around the world,” he said. “I’m very excited about coming to New York as America will celebrate it’s National Running Day. I’m also looking very much forward towards meeting all the children at the Ichan Stadium, I’m sure we will all celebrate together.”

National Running Day will be celebrated throughout the United States. For more information, visit http://www.runningday.org.

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