No show: Haile Gebrselassie confirms he will not run in London 2012 Olympics marathon
Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie has confirmed he will not race in the London 2012 Olympics marathon.
Fans lining London’s streets this summer will be denied the chance to see one of the true legends of the sport, whose record includes two Olympic 10,000 metres gold medals, four world 10,000m titles, nine marathon victories and the distinction of being the first man in history to run a sub-2hr 4min marathon.
The former world record holder had entered the Tokyo Marathon in February to achieve the required Olympic qualifying standard of 2hr 15min and to run quickly enough to secure his place in the three-man Ethiopian team for London. But his time of 2hr 8min 17sec meant he is only the 19th fastest Ethiopian over 26.2 miles this year.
Gebrselassie, who beat Paula Radcliffe in the Vienna half marathon on Sunday despite giving the Briton a head start, has not given up competing, however, and will appear at next month's Bupa Great Manchester Run.
"Although I will not be taking part in the Olympic marathon I am still enjoying my athletics career and looking forward to coming to Manchester again and to a course which I love," he said.
"It's flat and really suits my running style while I must say the support I get from spectators, which I have enjoyed on every visit, really motivates me to do well.
"I remember in particular my first victory when I achieved a very fast time in what were perfect conditions but since then the wind has always been a factor against me.
"Hopefully this year there will be none and that will make for a much better race."
Gebrselassie will be joined by British pair Mara Yamauchi, who has been selected in Team GB, and Charlotte Purdue in the Manchester race.