The 41st ING New York City Marathon was the day that saw legendary long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie tearfully announce his retirement after suffering an injury and dropping out in the middle of the competition.
Haile started experiencing pain in his right knee two weeks prior to the marathon and underwent an MRI just a day before Sunday’s competition.
Questions regarding the severity of the injury and the decision to continue with the marathon surfaced soon after the retirement announcement.
Gebre Gebremariam, the winner of the marathon, recalled a conversation he had with Haile prior to the race. Gebre discussed how Haile was determined to compete and finish the race despite his injury. Gebre also added Haile even told him, “If I finish the race, I am special.” A comment that only fueled the curiosity of Haile’s decision to continue with the competition.
In a conversation with TsehaiNY, Jos Hermens- Haile Gebrselassie’s agent- mentioned the injury was “not so big, but developed very late.” Adding, “All possibilities were discussed with Haile leading up to the marathon.”
Jos also stated that the doctor cleared Haile to run “as long as he had no pain [and] at the start [of the marathon] he had no pain.”
According to Jos, “Haile always makes his own final decision. In the past he has broken even world records [and] won Olympic titles with injuries.” In addition, Haile also “felt committed to the organizers,” thus choosing to stay in the race.
In regards to what the future holds for Haile as an athlete Jos thinks this may not be the end of the road. “I think he will still continue to run more but we will see. Haile just needs some time for himself to see what he really wants and any decision is ok.”