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BERLIN - The lessons from Berlin have been learnt and despite his advancing years, marathon king Haile Gebrselassie has vowed to return and attempt a third world record in the German capital.
The world record-holder came to Berlin last Sunday hunting a third consecutive record and a fourth straight victory, but had to settle for a winning time of 2hrs:06min:08sec.
Having smashed his own world mark the year before to set the current global record of 2:03:59 over the 42km course, the Ethiopian now plans to leave more in his tank for his 2010 attempt.
"Of course I will try it again, that was just a training run," smiled the 36-year-old.
He believes that it won't be long before the world record comes down to around the 2hr:2min mark.
"You never know, when you see what's happened with the sprints and Usain Bolt, it was difficult to imagine that three years ago."
The champion said his hopes of setting a new world record fell three-quarters into Sunday's race as the temperature rose.
As as a child growing up on a farm in his native country, Gebrselassie used to run 10km to school every morning, and the same distance back every evening.
He remains an idol in Ethiopia, where he's seen as a shining example of how to escape the country's grinding poverty.
"Running is a gift that has allowed me to leave poverty behind," he said.
Back home, Gebrselassie is a businessman, employing 600 people and the owner of an Addis Ababa hotel complex called the Haile Resort.
"My goal is to give my countrymen the chance to get out of poverty," the legendary runner said. - Sapa-AFP