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Q & A With 3,000m Champion Dejen Gebremeskel

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Feb. 9, 2011

He defeated a highly competitive field with just one shoe on.

Ethiopian runner Dejen Gebremeskel put on quite a show at the Boston New Balance Indoor Grand Prix last weekend. The big news wasn’t that he won in a blazing 7:35.37, rather, that he did it with just one shoe.

In an interview with Runner’s World, Gebremeskel described the experience.

“When I started, there was some jostling and the back of my foot got stepped on, he said. “It was at the very beginning. We hadn’t gone 50 meters when it came off.”

He then noted that there wasn’t time to put the shoe back on. Not surprisingly, Gebremeskel experienced “burning” pain after the race and developed blisters.

Upon winning the race, he was greeted by Ethiopian fans who compared him to the great Abebe Bikila who won the 1960 Olympic Marathon barefoot.

“Abebe is a great runner and I can’t compare myself to him, but they were celebrating and saying that I repeated his feat,” Gebremeskel said.

For More: Runner’s World

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com 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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