Double Olympic champion and world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie ran his final race at the Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa last Sunday.
42-year-old Haile ran the final kilometre barefoot, finishing in a time of 32:48. 'I did this for Abebe Bikila, the father of running in Ethiopia and for the whole of Africa. He is our inspiration,' said Haile at the end of the race.
Many of Ethiopia’s top athletes including Tirunesh and Genzebe Dibaba, Sileshi Sihine, Mare Dibaba, Gezahagne Abera, Tesfaye Tola, Ketema Negussie and Tessema Abshero came to cheer Haile down the final stretch.
'Where did they all come from?!' exclaimed Haile, expressing his surprise at the reception from his fellow athletes.
'I’ve had some special moments in my career, and this will always be one of them,' he said after the race. 'I particularly want to thank my wife and my family, and the Ethiopian public who have supported me over the past twenty-five years.'
After the race Haile was presented with a special diamond and gold award by the disabled artist Biruk Yeshitela who earlier in the morning had completed a 100m event to recognise his miraculous recovery, having once been told he would never walk again.