This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
I will always remember both the ferociously competitive spirit and the huge smile
In case you haven’t already heard, the great Haile Gebrselassie has officially retired from competitive running. He says he will keep running and will remain involved in the sport but he is done competing.
As many runners of similar age, I grew up as a fan of running watching and cheering for Geb. Actually, I was split between Geb and Paul Tergat, his chief rival through most of the 1990s on the track and into the 2000s, first on the track and then in the marathon. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a better two person rivalry in distance running history. Geb always seemed to have the upper hand but Tergat was always there From trading world records to the legendary 2000 Olympic 10,000 meter finish, they were always neck and neck.
Beyond the amazing competitions and times posted by Geb, though, I will also always remember that broad smile you can see in the image above. He always seemed to be friendly with everyone and truly love what he was doing. His enthusiasm for running and for the spirit of competition was amazing.
For all that you have done for the sport and for the great inspiration you have been for so many, thank you Geb. You are a true living legend.