Bekele to run his marathon debut in Paris, not London

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Debut marathon coming this spring in Paris

For those of you who don’t follow the HillRunner.com Twitter feed and may not have heard elsewhere, Kenenisa Bekele will run his debut marathon this spring in Paris. Previously, there was talk of him debuting in London, where Mo Farah will be debuting this spring.

Some people are questioning this choice. Why would such an accomplished runner, one of the best long distance runners on the track of all time and the current world record holder in the 5000 and 10,000, choose to debut at anything but one of the biggest marathons in the world? Why would he choose a second-tier (or third-tier?) marathon instead?

Personally, I think this is a good choice for him. Given his history, what would it take for his debut to not be considered a disappointment? The London field is always loaded and high profile debut marathoners rarely live up to the hype in their first efforts. In addition, with Mo Farah already essentially in for London, Bekele wouldn’t even be the highest profile debut marathoner as the hometown hero reigning Olympic champion would steal his thunder. By choosing Paris, he goes into a race with a much more manageable field as, by far, the highest profile debutante in the race. He can garner the full attention for his debut, get his feet wet without facing off against one of the best fields in the world and learn what it’s like to race the distance. Then, when he feels he’s ready to face off against the best in the world with some marathon experience behind him, he can go to London, Berlin, New York or whatever his choice might be.

What are your thoughts? Is this a good decision for him or should he jump in the deep end right away?

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