Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia may be the greatest distance runner of all-time
Written by The Examiner   
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Kenenisa Bekele Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia has now possibly placed his name at the top of the list of the world's greatest distance runners of all-time. By winning the 5,000 meter at the World Championships in Berlin, to add with his 10,000 meter victory earlier in the week at the same Championships, Bekele has now won 5 World Track Championships, 3 Olympic Gold medals, 12 World Cross Country Championships and is the current world record holder in the 5,000 meter, 5,000 meter indoor, 10,000 meter, 2,000 meter indoor, and 2-mile indoor. Bekele has topped the accomplishments of countryman, Haile Gebrselassie, who was until now, perhaps the greatest distance runner of all-time.

Bekele set the pace for much of the 5,000 meter race, unlike the 10,000 meter where he was satisfied to allow others to lead. His strongest rival was defending 5,000 meter World Champion, Bernard Lagat of the US. Lagat positioned himself on the inside lane, just behind Bekele for the entire race, ready to follow if Bekele should ever surge to break away from the pack. Instead, Bekele kept the pack intact by leading at only a moderate pace. Coming into the final lap there were still 13 competitors in contention.

Bekele's final lap is generally deadly against his distance race opponents. He has miscalculated at least one famous time in the past, at the 2004 Athens Olympics, when he faced Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in the finals of the 5,000 meter. Bekele had won the 10,000 meter and El Guerrouj had won the 1500 meter. With the meeting of the two in the 5,000 meter the popular thought was that Bekele would win easily if he set a fast pace and took the fast finishing sprint out of El Guerrouj. Instead, Bekele and the other Ethiopian front runners seemed to play perfectly into the scenario that favored El Guerrouj, and in the end the speed of the 1500 meter specialist was too much for even the fast last lap of Bekele.

Source: The Examiner