Gebrselassie, Kiprotich take Vienna City race titles
VIENNA (AP) -- Haile Gebrselassie made a winning return from injury by capturing a half marathon Sunday during the Vienna City Marathon.
The Ethiopian great, who turns 38 on Monday, covered the 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 18 seconds.
The 22-year-old John Kiprotich of Kenya won the marathon, finishing the 26.2 miles in 2:08:29 to become the youngest winner in the 28-year history of the event. Fate Tola of Ethiopia took the women's race in a personal best 2:26.21.
Gebrselassie had been sidelined for six weeks and missed the Tokyo marathon in February after hurting both knees in training.
Gebrselassie said he was "very happy" with his performance at his first European appearance since briefly retiring after pulling out of the New York City Marathon in November.
"I was thinking I could do it in under one hour. But it's OK, it's a remarkable time as I ran alone," he said.
Gebrselassie needed just over half an hour to overtake the top marathon runners doing the full distance who had started two minutes in front of him.
"It was a great format, but I was a bit nervous," Gebrselassie said. "If I started too slowly, I might have been too far behind so I put the pressure on from the beginning."
The Ethiopian veteran is widely regarded as one of the greatest long-distance runners ever. He has won two Olympic gold medals and four world titles in the 10,000 meters and holds the marathon world record of 2:03:59.
The final goal of his career is a gold medal at next year's Olympics.
"From now to London 2012, it's a serious preparation," said Gebrselassie, who will decide next month which race he will target at the Olympics. "I might run Berlin (in September) or some other race. One of my biggest problems is to qualify as there are so many great Ethiopian runners."
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