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Haile Gebrselassie retires from competitive racing

Maarten van Maanen / Flickr CC
Maarten van Maanen / Flickr CC

A candidate for the greatest distance runner of all time, Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie announced on Sunday that he is retiring from competitive racing.

After the Great Manchester Run, the 43-year-old told reporters that the race would be his final competitive race, though he will continue running his entire life.

“I am retiring from competitive running, not from running,” Gebrselassie said. “You cannot stop running. This is my life. I’m very happy to stop here. I knew this was going to be the last one.”

He finished sixteenth, though he won the event on five occasions, at one point holding the course record. His most recent win was in 2012.

After finishing the 10K, the runner went back to the start line to run the course a second time with the recreational field.


Gebrselassie first became a major name in the world of distance running when he won his first two world titles in 1992 at the world junior championships. He won both the 5,000m and 10,000m titles, a preview of his move into the senior ranks the following year. In 1993, Gebrselassie won his first of four world 10,000m championships.

During his career, he also won two Olympic titles over the distance in 1996 and 2000. His results over the 23-year career also included 27 world records runs, including the first person to ever run under 2:04 in the marathon.

Though, this isn’t the first time he’s announced retirement. The runner also told the media he was retiring in 2010, before changing his mind and attempting to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. He did not make the team that year but he continued competing.

Gebrselassie is also a successful businessman in Ethiopia, owning real estate and a coffee plantation. He founded the Great Ethiopia Run and is a United Nations Ambassador for multiple international programs.