International athletes motivate citizens before Mumbai Marathon

Mumbai, Jan 18 (IANS) Two days before Sunday's 10th Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, its brand ambassador Haile Gebrselassie motivated Mumbaikars here Friday, saying it was imperative "to get up daily and run to win over themselves".

Speaking at a media interaction, Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medallist (10,000 metres in 1996 & 2000), said: "For me, a day without running is like a day without eating. I run to improve myself with every run. If you need to cleanse your brain, you need to run and sweat, get up in the morning and get going."

"Win over yourself, that's the most important lesson in life," urged the world's greatest long distance runner and sports icon with 27 world records under his belt.

These include: four World Championship Gold medals (10,000m) and four World Indoor Championship Gold medals (3000m and 1500m).

After bidding adieu to his career on track, Gebrselassie crowned himself the 'King of the Road' in Sep 2008, when, at the age of 35, he won the Berlin Marathon with a world record time of 2:03.59, breaking his own world record by 27 seconds.

He went on to win the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively and also had three straight wins at the Dubai Marathon, and notched himself as the 2001 World Half Marathon Champion.

"Even though a competition is just a part of the entire race, these championships and world records are very motivating," he confesses.

Besides Gebrselassie, South African runer Hendrick Ramaala, the winner of the inaugural event in 2004 is making a return to Mumbai Marathon.

After bagging Mumbai, Ramaala ,40, went on to win the New York Marathon and is ranked among the leading marathoners in the world. Last year he clocked 2:12 in the 2012 Dubai Marathon.

"I have very fond memories of the 2004 Mumbai Marathon which was the first ever I won. Though it was not easy, it will always be a memorable one. I have come only to enjoy the race, not to break more records," Ramaala said.

Kenyan defending champion Laban Moiben is optimistic of breaking his own record set last year in Mumbai Marathon.

"In Kenya, 20 of us train together without a coach, set our own regimes and understand each other's problems and work on them individually. Every marathoner will agree that it's the final 20 kms which are difficult, more so in Mumbai because of the heat and humidity," Moiben explained.

Ethiopian woman athlete Aberu Mekuria has been running since her school days as a hobby and later took it up professionally.

"Though I am not fully familiar with the track history of Mumbai Marathon, I hope to break all records and win the race," she smiled confidently.

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