Strider trains with Haile Gebrselassie

Martin Whitworth and Haile Gebrselassie.

Martin Whitworth and Haile Gebrselassie. - Credit: Archant

STRIDER Martin Whitworth was introduced to Haile Gebrselassie while visiting Addis Ababa for work last week.

To his astonishment, when he told the two-time Olympic and four-time World Championship 10,000m gold medallist that he was a runner, Gebrselassie invited him to do a training session with him on Thursday afternoon at his local gym.

Both ran 10k on adjacent treadmills followed by some spinning on bikes and another 10k on the treadmills. Afterwards Gebrselassie complimented Whitworth on how well he’d done when he discovered that he had only been at altitude (2,600 metres) for two days.

A spokesman for the club said: “When Martin wished him luck for the Great North Run later this year Haile’s response was ‘Do you realise how old I am?’ Martin said that Haile has the biggest smile he has ever seen and he was also impressed that the gym he uses is not a private one, but is open to all members of the public. He truly is a man of the people.

Closer to home, Doug Hobson was running on Thursday in the BBC Running Club Summer 10k in Regents Park, London. He finished in 42mins 30secs.

On Saturday there was another large turnout of 207 runners for the St Albans 5k parkrun, with 37 competitors taking part for the first time. The first two Striders to finish were Edward Bailey (8th overall) in 18mins 16secs and Ben Scott (14th) in 19mins 16secs.

The first two female Striders were Jenny Maddocks (3rd female and 29th overall) in 19mins 44secs and Helen Cartlidge (4th female and 30th overall) in 20mins 3secs.

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On Sunday, Helen Durance achieved a personal best time of 1hr 52mins 21secs at the Bushy Park half-marathon, while at the off-road Englefield 10k in Reading, Graham Smith came eighth in 41mins 5secs (first vet 40) and Graham Foster came 22nd in 44mins 1sec.