What better way to wrap up the last day of the 2009 running year than to be running and spending time with Haile Gebrsellasie. Yesterday, I ran the Silvesterlauf (New Year's Eve race) in Trier, Germany with friends Jurgen and Boris. Haile Gebrsellasie ran the 8K race as his final tune-up for the Dubai Marathon on January 22. I was amazed to be standing within a couple feet and toeing the starting line with the marathon world record holder.
The goal for the race was to break 27 minutes and not get lapped by Haile twice. Okay, sub-27 minutes for 8k was more than realistic, but there was no way Haile was overlapping me twice in an 8K race with 1K loops. My race went fairly well and I had a ton of fun, but I was a bit disappointed with my finish time as I ran 27:00 flat. I clicked off 3:20 laps and went through 5K in 16:42 (5:23 pace). Approximately 200 meters into the 6th lap, I heard the already deafening noise of thousands of spectators get even louder. Moments later Haile came flying by me like a cheetah chasing down its prey. Watching Haile run was poetry in motion. After the race, Boris and I bragged to Jurgen that we were running in front of Haile, which is true except that he was on his 7th lap and we were on our 6th. My goal of running sub-27 was lost in the 7th lap as I let up a little. I might have let up a little too much, because I found myself sprinting the last 100 meters as the clocked ticked away.
Shadrack Lagat (2nd place and 1996 Junior World Champion in 1500m) and German Irina Mikitenko (2:19 Marathoner and Winner of the 2007-2008 World Marathon Majors).