Is Gebrselassie Up For The Challenge?

Haile Gebrselassie faces a tough course--and tough competition--in New York. Photo:

A challenging course and a tough field might not make it easy for the world’s fastest marathoner.

Haile Gebrselassie is known for chasing fast times on pancake-flat courses. The ING New York City Marathon is neither fast nor flat, which makes the Ethiopian’s debut in New York a subject worthy of speculation. The New York Times recently profiled Gebreselassie’s prospects in the Big Apple.

“At the end of the day, people want to see how fast you run,” Gebrselassie said.

Gebrselassie’s penchant for chasing records and time bonuses has drawn criticism from his rivals.

“I have a lot of respect for him, but he never faces anyone,” Federico Rosa, manager of 2008 Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru, said of Gebrselassie. “He doesn’t like to face other strong athletes. When he does, he has trouble.”

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