Haile Gebrselassie is to defend his title at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on Sunday 5 October, organisers for the IAAF Gold Label Road Race announced on Thursday (11).
The 41-year-old Ethiopian won last year’s race in 1:01:09, the fastest time ever recorded in Scotland for the 13.1-mile half marathon distance and a world age-group record.
“I have fantastic memories of my first race in Scotland and I am delighted to be coming back to race in the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run for a second time,” said Gebrselassie. “It’s a great race with a great atmosphere and the organisation is superb.”
The Ethiopian phenomenon, sometimes known as ‘the Little Emperor’, has broken an incredible 27 world records, at distances ranging from two miles to the marathon during the course of a trailblazing career in which he has also won two Olympic titles and four World Championships gold medals at 10,000m.
Asked whether he might be able to improve his Scottish all-comers’ half marathon record in Glasgow on 5 October, Gebrselassie replied: “Who knows? The weather was not bad last year but there was a little bit of rain towards the end and it was a little bit windy in another part.
“So maybe, with better weather this year, I can run faster. What was important last year was not the time but to win the race. It was my first ever race in Scotland and I wanted to win it. This year, we will see. I cannot indicate at this stage what time I am going to run.
“I had a problem earlier this year, I had a small surgery to my knee, but that is gone now. My training is going well. When you are an older athlete you have to be serious in your training and in how you take your rest and how you are preparing, but I am still doing well at 41.”
Jo Pavey, the European 10,000m champion, will be that age as well when she lines up for the women’s race in the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run.
“Age does not matter,” insisted Gebrselassie. “It is just a number. Jo Pavey showed that when she won her bronze medal in Glasgow (in the 2014 Commonwealth Games 5000m) and then won the European 10,000m title in Zurich. If you ask her, she will say it was not her feet or her legs that won her those medals; it was her heart.
“I think what Jo has done this summer is amazing. Some athletes complain at the age of 30 or 31 that they are getting tired. Jo is a good example of what you can do when you get older, and maybe myself too.
“Running is more than just competing," he added. "It is more than just winning. It is a passion.”
Organisers for the IAAF