Gebrselassie Breaks Half Marathon World Record

By Jörg Wenig

Ethiopia’s running hero Haile Gebrselassie has set a world record at the Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon in Phoenix (USA) last Sunday. The 32 year old ran the distance of 21.0975 kilometers in 58:55 minutes. He improved the old mark by 21 seconds. Haile Gebrselassie, who has broken a number of world records in his career and became Olympic and World Champion a couple of times, also broke the 20K world record on his way.

On a cool day, which was ideal for long distance running, the pace was a bit slow at first. But between 7 and 8K Gebrselassie burst away, leaving behind his pacemakers. The half marathon world record had stood at 59:16 minutes. This time was set by Kenyan Samuel Wanjiru in Rotterdam last September.

Gebrselassie’s 20K split was 55:48 minutes. If this split time will be officially ratified it is another world record for the Ethiopian. Paul Tergat (Kenya) was the older of the old mark with 56:18.

In October 2005 Haile Gebrselassie had missed the world record of Paul Tergat set in Berlin in 2003 (2:04:55 hours). He clocked 2:06:20 in Amsterdam, which was the best time of the year. Haile Gebrselassie now targets the Flora London Marathon in April.