(Reuters) - Haile Gebrselassie, considered one of athletics’ greatest distance runners, said on Sunday he was retiring from competitive running.
The Ethiopian’s long-time manager at first said it was not the end of Gebrselassie’s career, but later issued a press release saying the runner had retired from athletics.
“Running legend Haile Gebrselassie announced his retirement from competitive running at the Great Manchester Run today where he ran his last competitive race,” the statement said.
Gebrselassie was quoted as saying: “I am retiring from competitive running, not from running. You cannot stop running, this is my life. And I am still enjoying my farewell tour like today in Manchester.”
His manager, Jos Hermens, could not be reached to explain the new statement.
“Yes, probably a kind of retirement!” Hermens said in a text message alerting Reuters to the new statement.
Earlier, Hermens had texted Reuters: “No, he’s not retiring; he will be in Glasgow in October. He’ll probably never retire.”
Gebrselassie, 42, had told BBC Sport he was retiring from competitive running after finishing 16th in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday.
But it is not the first time he has talked about calling it quits.
Gebrselassie had tearfully retired five years ago after knee problems forced him to drop out of the New York City Marathon.
But he returned to racing a few months later.
Hermens admitted Gebrselassie was training a lot less than before, “so may be kind of a farewell trip in the UK!” the manager said of Gebrselassie’s upcoming race in Glasgow.
The soft-spoken Gebrselassie achieved success both on the track and the roads during his long career.
Nearly unbeatable on the track in his prime, he won his first of eight indoor and outdoor world championships at Stuttgart in 1993 and went on to hold world records from the 5,000 meters to the marathon.
His Olympic medals came in the 10,000 meters in successive Olympics, 1996 in Atlanta and 2000 in Sydney.
Gebrselassie will now focus more on his businesses in Ethiopia where he is involved in real estate projects, owns four hotels, a coffee plantation and is an automobile distributor, his management company’s statement said.
”He will also remain a running ambassador and wants to stay
active in athletics.”
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Meadows