Today was a great day! I went to the press conference for the Dubai Marathon and they had a very special guest.. World champion, current world record holder, running god and all round top human being, Haile Gebrsellasie!
We were invited to the press conference by Alan Ewens, official publicist for the marathon and all round good guy. The speakers were excited to introduce this year’s marathon, the richest in the world, with $1M US in prize money. Also, if the world record is broken, another $1M is up for grabs.
All sorts of dignitaries were there and everyone was pretty pumped to hear Haile speak. When he did, it was with quiet confidence that he would try his best to break the record and win the race, but if we all knew the result, it wouldn’t be interesting.. He also managed to add in some of his own messaging, which he repeated a couple of times throughout the session. Basically it was to promote running as a healthy choice and a stress reliever. He hopes that everyone will start running, as their lives will improve beyond comprehension. And I found myself nodding my head as he delivered his sage advice. I thoroughly believe that’s what happened to me.
Alan moved on to mention some of the other participants, including the defending women’s champion, Bekele Sertsu. Then, he started speaking about some Australian that was running all around the world to raise money for UNICEF, saying my name at the end… Haha, what?! I stood up and thanked everyone for their applause, then as I went to sit down, Alan asked Haile if he had any words for me… He started to laugh and then said:
How awesome is that?! He thinks what we’re doing is magic! Haile, one of my personal heroes, actually knows we exist and what we’re doing!
I got some photos with him and we got a whole load of interest from different media groups here. I was interviewed by a couple of TV stations, radio and newspapers too. If I could type “52 marathons in 52 weeks” in Arabic, I reckon I could find a few more articles tomorrow.
I was so pumped, I went running in the evening, all the way up along Dubai’s shoreline, banging out some 16kms at a pretty quick pace. It was awesome to run fast and think of Haile running 70% faster.
What a day… what an amazing day…