When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.
All athletes need three things: commitment, discipline and hard work. Without that it’s hard to keep running.
Always, if you win mentally, you can win physically as well.
Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there.
First, do enough training. Then believe in yourself and say: I can do it. Tomorrow is my day. And then say: the person in front of me, he is just a human being as well; he has two legs, I have two legs, that is all. That is mentally how you prepare.
I can’t change everything by myself but I can be one of the people who are trying to change the situation.
You need three things to win: discipline, hard work and, before everything maybe, commitment. No one will make it without those three. Sport teaches you that.
For me a day without training is like a day without eating.
I always tell young athletes the same thing, ‘Wherever you go, whatever you do, what must your top priority be? Running.’
I will always listen to my coaches. But first I listen to my body. If what they tell me suits my body, great. If my body doesn’t feel good with what they say, then always my body comes first.
Some people start a sport just to reduce weight, or some say, ‘My doctor ordered me to run and do exercise’, and for others, they run for completely different benefits. But it is not like that with sport. We need to eat, we need to rest, but also we need to run.
You must do as your people do. If my people are poor, I must be poor. People ask me, ‘Why don’t you find a personal coach or a private car?’ I can’t. Then I won’t be part of my people.
My father thought sport was something fun – he didn’t know it was a way to make money. Then I won a Mercedes at the world championships and I gave it to him. From the moment it arrived my father said: ‘Good, you can support not just yourself but me too’.
It is not my duty to spend my money in my country, but it is what I want to do. There is nowhere else I would like to invest.
My school was six miles away from where I lived on the farm. I had to walk and run, there and back every day, through gorges and over rivers. If I was late, there was a very big stick waiting for me.
I love running and I will always run.
The marathon always starts after 30K. That’s where the problems start. You start without any problems, without any pain. All the pain comes after 30K. Sometimes, it’s possible to have pain even in the finger.
When I wake up at 5 in the morning is it just to jog? Definitely not, I give it all of my efforts.
Like some high official, you have to tell your brain: ‘Do it. Come on. I have to do it.’
If you’re planning only to make money and nothing else, you’ll be broke.
At the end of the day, people want to see how fast you run.
I know what I want when I start a marathon: to win! But what do you want? Make sure you’re clear in advance and don’t go out too fast.
Age for me is just a number.
I’m lucky. The best possible place in the world for training is Addis Ababa, so I am home all the time except when I am racing. I like to be there, near my family, my kids, also the real estate business I run with my wife.
In the rainy season, sometimes to get to the first lesson we had to run really quick, because we had to cross the river to school and we’d have to go up and down the bank to find a place to cross because there is no bridge.