Last Sunday, Haile Gebrselassie broke the world record for the marathon, running a time of 2 hours 4 minutes and 26 seconds in Berlin. Yes, I'll say that time again to make sure it sinks in: 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 26 seconds. I'm a bit surprised it hasn't had more publicity. It's an absolutely incredible time. To put it in a bit of context, it equates to 29.30 pace for the 10k, and Gebrselassie has run 4.2 of these back to back. I've just checked the 'Power of 10' rankings for Scottish performances this year, and so far only 1 Scot has run a 10k faster than 29.30 - Robert Russell, who ran 29.16 at Manchester. The next best time is 30.34.
It was the 24th time the great man has set a world record, and I was fortunate enough to see one of them. In 2003 I was doing some work for UK Athletics in Birmingham, and I was invited along to the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix meeting that night at the National Indoor Arena. Gebrselassie set a new 2 mile world indoor record of 8 minutes 4.69 seconds. I felt priviliged to have seen it. If I remember correctly there was also a women's pole vault world record that night from Svetlana Feofanova of 4.77m. It was quite an occasion.
(PS Just in case anyone is wondering, I checked both these records on the internet just before typing this. Did you really think I remembered them? How sad do you think I am?)
I think I'll settle for something a bit slower on Sunday.