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Today I’m in L.A. for a “running camp” hosted by Adidas, designed to introduce members of the media to Adidas-sponsored athletes and to present new gear for the upcoming season. The event is interesting for a few reasons, including the odd coincidence that I’m the only female member of the U.S. media in attendance.
After a general opening session, we were offered a unique and rare opportunity: an hour-long “fun run” with the fastest marathoner in history, Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie
. Last year, at age 36, Gebrselassie broke the world record by posting an astonishing 2:03:59 at the Berlin Marathon—averaging 4:43-minute miles and becoming the first person to run under 2:04:00. But tonight Gebrselassie kindly ran with a pack of slow and steady press, who all seemed a bit star-struck running next to him. Gebrselassie has earned the accolade “greatest distance runner ever” for good reason: He has a closet full of championship medals in distances from the 1,500m to the 10,000m, to say nothing of his seven marathon wins.
Gebrselassie was constantly photographed as we ran down the Santa Monica board walk, and taxi drivers honked as we went by. But he didn’t seem to mind, kindly smiling for the cameras and waving to fans. (He’d done a hard, two-hour run this morning.) He is a humble hero, and certainly motivated me to stay at his heels in order to hear any words of wisdom he offered. His secrets are simple: train hard, practice every day, and enjoy it.
Tomorrow, we’re attending clinics led by a host of Adidas-sponsored athletes, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal sprinters Allyson Felix
, Christine Ohuruogu
and Veronica Campbell-Brown
. I’m going to have the chance to interview all of them. Anything you want to know from these sprinting superstars? Post your comments in the space below, and I’ll ask them.