His will for speed is insatiable. After he set his second marathon world record in the 2008 Berlin Marathon, the first words out of his mouth were, I can run faster. That is all the proof anyone could need that being a happy runner is compatible with being a runner who is never satisfied. In fact, the spirit of discontent does not stand in the way of Gebrselassie’s enjoyment of running; it is the very manner in which he enjoys running. He just can’t get enough speed in the same way new lovers can’t get enough time together and some musicians can’t get enough performing. In interviews, Geb refuses to talk of retiring, but promises instead to keep training, racing, and striving until he is effectively dragged out of the sport by the corporeal disintegration of aging. On the morning after our beach run, we journalists took a bus to the Home Depot Center in Carson and gathered at the track. Geb was now joined by the other big adidas track-and-field stars: world champion sprinters Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, and Veronica Campbell-Brown; world and Olympic champion 400 m runner Jeremy Wariner; Olympic medalist sprinter Christine Ohuruogu; and Olympic champion high jumper Blanka Vlasic. One by one these winners were paraded before our seated journalistic assembly until they stood in a line of self-consciousness like so many beauty pageant contestants. After joining the lineup next to the 6-foot-4 Vlasic, Gebrselassie, all of 5 foot 3, made a show of standing on his tiptoes and drawing up his shoulders as he stole a glance upward at her head. We laughed heartily as the other star athletes stood stone-faced.


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