World marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie will visit Kenya later this month as part of a training programme organised by his sponsors, G4S.
The Ethiopian legend will be part of the G4S 4teen programme that also features Kenyan cross country star Pauline Korikwiang.
The G4S 4teen programme is a sports programme that supports a group of young aspiring athletes around the world and Gebrselasie mentors each athlete to achieve their sporting goals.
“I am happy to meet and train with Haile,” said the Korikwiang, the 19-year-old, former world junior cross country champion in Fukuoka after travelling to Addis Ababa last month on the programme.
“I’m more determined than never before,” said Korikwiang who completed a hat-trick of victories in the Athletics Kenya national cross country championships with her win in Eldoret on Saturday.
One of the fast-rising young Kenyan athletes, Korikwiang won the women’s eight-kilometre race in Machakos and Meru in November and December last year.
Gebrselassie will first travel to Dubai but has refused to be drawn just yet on whether Friday’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be world record number 27.
But he says he is in better shape than when he won Dubai last year, in 2.04.53, then the second fastest on record.
“Last year, I had a little injury two weeks before Dubai, but this year everything is OK, I feel fine. And I won’t make the mistake of going too fast, like last year.”
If he breaks that record in Dubai, he will win a one million US dollars bonus, in addition to the first place prize of $250,000, already the biggest in marathon running.
But, “everything has to be perfect for another record, weather, pacemakers. If I don’t get injured, maybe 2.02.59, but considering my shape and my age, 2.03.30, or 2.03.20”.
Gebrselassie still concentrates on running. “It’s my top priority, because without running, I wouldn’t have everything else.”