18 Feb

Gebrselassie To Set Pace At London Marathon

Haile Gebrselassie

Ethiopian running legend, Haile Gebrselassie will pace a world record attempt at this year's Virgin London Marathon on 13 April. The 40-year-old will set the pace for the men's elite field which includes marathon debutant Mo Farah and Kenya's Wilson Kipsang.

London race director, Hugh Brasher said: "We are delighted to announce that Haile Gebrselassie has agreed to run as a pacemaker in this year's race. Haile is an icon of distance running, a man who has broken 27 world records on the track and road during his long and brilliant career, and we can't think of anyone better to set our elite men up for a crack at the world marathon record.

"Everyone knows how difficult it is to break the world record on London's course, especially with such a competitive field, but with Haile pacing and four of the fastest marathon runners in history in the race, there's a real chance we will see something special."

Gebrselassie, who will be running as  a pacemaker at a top-class race for the first time, has twice broken the marathon world record as well as winning two Olympic and four World Championship gold medals over the 10,000m distance.

He has run at London three times, achieving his best finish of third in 2002. A world record pace would see Gebrselassie taking the leading men through halfway in around an hour and one and a half minutes, and 30km in close to 1h 28m.

The men's field also includes London champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopian, Ugandan world and Olympic gold medallist Stephen Kiprotich, Kenyan course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, while 18-year-old Ethiopian Tsegaye Mekonnen, the winner of the Dubai Marathon in January, has been added to the line-up.