'Age is just a number'

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'Age is just a number'

For Haile Gebrselassie, one of the finest long-distance runners of all times, running has always been a passion. This Ethiopian runner, who has a career that boasts of two Olympic gold medals, among his many achievements, and world records, was in the City recently.

 Ask the Adidas athlete about his impressions of the City and he said excitedly, “Bangalore is an amazing city for running. When a city is green, it is an awesome experience to run there. I call a city where one can breathe easily because of the many trees a ‘running city’.”

This 41-year-old believes that there is no age for running. “Age is just a number. If you want to win something, you win it. Just set your targets for the goal and you will achieve it,” he says. On concepts about fitness, he adds, “Many think that if someone is slim or thin, he or she is fit. This is a misconception. One is fit when one is able to carry on the daily tasks.”

Prod Haile about his fitness mantra and he says that running is a daily affair for him. “My life revolves around running. I wake up early morning and go training and manage training between my business schedules,” he adds.

Haile, like most other sport stars, feels on top off the world when he breaks a record. “It is like reaching cloud nine. I can’t limit that feeling to the word ‘happy’ or ‘excited’. Even after I have broken 27 world records, I still feel the thrill when a new record is set.” He adds that running in the Olympics is a different ballgame as it happens only once in every four years. “The chances of winning at the Olympics are minimal for a sports star because of this timeline. I did my Olympics run when I was in top shape,” he points out.

Recollecting one of his toughest marathons, he says, “At the age of 16, I ran a marathon in Addis Ababa and that was a difficult one to crack. I couldn’t walk for a week after that race. Two hours and 48 minutes of running at the age of 16 isn’t that easy!”

Haile adds that after running so many marathons, he now knows the formula of smoothly finishing each one. “One shouldn’t begin running a marathon thinking about the starting point, but should start from the finishing point,” he said. He explained further, “One has to plan which kilometre they will do what, when to run faster, which kilometre is an important one etc, when running in a marathon. There are a lot of calculations involved.”

For every marathon, one has to prepare a lot. “Mental preparation is not easy. Sometimes, a lucky number can affect your run. One is my favourite number. When in a marathon, if I get the number, I always feel luckier,” he wrapped up.

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