Haile Gebrselassie retired from athletics after his Ethiopian countryman Gebre Gebremariam won the New York Marathon in his debut at the distance.
Two-time Olympic 10,000-meter champion and the marathon world record holder Gebrselassie’s first appearance in the race ended after 16 miles (25.7 kilometers) with a right-knee injury.
“I never think about to retire, but for the first time, this is the day,” the 37-year-old told reporters. “Let me stop and do other work after this.”
Gebrselassie turned to the marathon after failing in 2004 to become the first man to win the Olympic 10,000 meters three times. He ran the 2008 Berlin
marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds to shave 27 seconds off the world record he set at the same event a year earlier. An asthmatic, Gebrselassie missed the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of concerns about pollution.
Gebremariam completed today’s race in 2:08:14. Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya was next to finish, 64 seconds behind, and Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, also of Kenya, was third in 2:10:39.
“It’s so special for me just to finish,” the 26-year-old Gebremariam told reporters.
Gebremariam, the 2009 cross-country world champion, is the only man to win in New York at the first attempt since Rod Dixon in 1983.
Edna Kiplagat won the women’s race in 2:28:20. Shalane Flanagan of the U.S. was runner-up, 20 seconds behind Kiplagat and 21 seconds ahead of third-placed Mary Keitany, another Kenyan. Three U.S. women finished among the top 10.