Former world record holder Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) has been forced to withdraw from the Hamburg Marathon on May 4 due to a pollen allergy, his manager announced on Friday.
The 41-year-old Ethiopian has been unable to train regularly for the last two weeks and has suffered with breathing difficulties brought on by an allergy.
“Haile has suffered with a pollen allergy and currently has massive respiratory problems, so he has been unable to train regularly for the last two weeks,” said his manager Jos Hermens.
The former Olympic and world 10 000metres champion broke the world marathon record in Berlin in September 2007 and then lowered it to 2 hours 03.59 mins at the same race one year later.
He held the fastest time for four years while current world record holder is Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang who recorded 2 hours 03.23 mins at Berlin in 2013.
The five fastest times in history have been set at the Berlin event.
Organisers still hope the Hamburg course record of 2 hours 05.30 mins, set by Eliud Kipchoge last year, will be broken again.
“Along with 23000 runners, we had of course wished to see Haile on the start-line, but it makes no sense in the current situation,” said chief organiser Frank Thaleiser.
“We will now strive to look for athletes who were not able to start in London or Boston, but are in good shape and able to add to a strong field.”