Hail(e) the king of marathons

Hail(e) the king of marathons

It’s the end of the road for the world’s most dominant long- and middle-distance runner and athletics legend Haile Gebrselassie. The 37-year-old Ethiopian announced his retirement on Sunday after a knee injury forced him to drop out of the New York Marathon after 25km, bringing to an end one of the most stunning and influential careers in sports history. Gebrselassie’s childhood was spent running 10km to his school every morning from his parents’ farm, and back again—an extraordinary training regimen that set him up for the greatness to come. Gebrselassie, who is known as “The Emperor" in Ethiopia, set an incredible eight world records in various distance categories, and still holds the world record for the marathon at 2 hours, 3 minutes and 59 seconds, which he set in Berlin in 2008. “The Emperor" can count 19 other “world’s best" times for events that are not recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and are thus not eligible for a world record.

• 1992

Announces his arrival on the international stage by winning the 5,000m and 10,000m race at the Junior World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.

• 1993

Wins his first 10,000m gold at the World Championships in Stuttgart.

• 1994

Sets his first 5,000m world record in Hengelo, Netherlands.

• 1995

Sets the 10,000m world record during his gold-winning run at the World Championships in Gothenburg, and breaks the 5,000m world record again.

• 1996

Wins the 10,000m gold in Atlanta, his first at the Olympics.

• 1997

Wins yet another 10,000m gold at the World Championships in Athens and breaks the world record again. Wins his first 3,000m gold at the World Indoor Championships in Paris.

• 1998

Breaks both the 5,000m and 10,000m world records again in Helsinki.

• 1999

Wins the 10,000m gold at the World Championships in Seville, and tops it with gold in both 1,500m and 3,000m, at the World Indoor Championships in Maebashi, Japan.

• 2000

Successfully defends his 10,000m gold at the Sydney Olympics, becoming only the third athlete to do so.

• 2001

Wins the IAAF World Half Marathon gold in Bristol, making his debut in long-distance running.

• 2005

Wins the Amsterdam Marathon to complete his move to long distance.

• 2006

Wins the Berlin and Fukuoka marathons and sets the half marathon world record.

• 2007

Wins the Berlin Marathon and sets the world record.

• 2008

Breaks his own marathon world record, which is yet to be broken, at the Berlin Marathon, and breaks the 2 hour and 4 minutes barrier for the event.

Compiled by Rudraneil Sengupta.