Tearful Haile Gebrselassie Announces Retirement

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Nov. 7, 2010
  • Updated Sep. 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM UTC

The marathon world-record holder makes shocking announcement after dropping out of the ING NYC Marathon.

Written by: Duncan Larkin

The sudden and unexpected statement came after the Ethiopian had dropped out of his first ING New York City Marathon along the Queensboro Bridge, near the 16-mile mark. A tearful Gebrselassie broke the news at a hastily arranged press conference in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

“I did really hard training to win this race. It didn’t work,” an emotional Gebrselassie said. “I never think about retiring. But for the first time, this is the day. Let me stop and do other work after this. Let me stop and give a chance for the youngsters.”

Looking out at the crowd of reporters, the usually jovial and smiling Gebrselassie wore an uncharacteristic frown. “Will I miss the race? It’s hard to me, hard because, you know, I want to thank you all.”

After his initial statement, the 37-year-old Gebrselassie only fielded four questions, giving curt answers to each. When asked if his body can’t take the pounding of marathons anymore, Gebrselassie agreed. “Better to stop here,” he said.

Shortly before the start of the marathon, Gebrselassie Tweeted that his knee had been bothering him. “Starting and finishing NY marathon today will be tough,” Gebrselassie wrote. “I trained well, and I am ready and eager to run. However..I have some inflamation in my right knee, because of the long travel to NY city. No big problem, just some fluids. Hopefully the knee holds!”

Gebrselassie confirmed his knee issue with NBC analyst Deena Kastor just moments before the race, saying that he would be cautious because of a “small problem”.

The small problem turned out to be tendinitis, which was confirmed by an MRI yesterday.

Trying to hold back back tears, Gebrselassie wasn’t interested in dwelling on his painful decision. “No complaints, really. It’s better not to complain anymore,” he said, as he stood up and walked off the stage.

FILED UNDER: New York City Marathon / News / NYC Marathon News TAGS: / / / /

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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