Wanjiru had hoped to race his top rival.
Sammy Wanjiru, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and winner of this year’s Chicago Marathon was shocked and saddened to hear that marathon world-record holder Gebrselassie had retired from competitive running after his DNF in New York City this past weekend.
“I didn’t know about it until people started coming up to me this morning and asking me about it,” Wanjiru recalled. “I don’t know if he said that because he was mad that he had to drop out of the race or if he really means it.”
The 23-year-old Kenyan had been inspired by Gebrselassie.
“This entire generation, whether in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, look up to him because Haile ran many years, and he won many races at many distances. He is a great champion. Since I was in high school, he was the runner I looked up to,” he said.
Wanjiru hopes Gebrselassie will make a comeback so he can race the Ethiopian world-record holder in the marathon.
“Before he gets out of training, I hope that he comes back one more time because I want to run against him,” Wanjiru said. “I need him to come back again, only to run one.”
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