Tuesday 1 February 2005 When World Marathon record holder Paul Tergat travelled to Athens last summer he had only one target:
he wanted to win the Olympic gold, the medal he had missed at two previous occasions when he came second to Haile Gebrselassie in the 10,000 metres in Atlanta and Sydney. When he lined up with all the other favourites on August 29, the last day of the 2004 Olympics, at 6 pm., he was physically and mentally ready for the 42.195 kilometres to come.
Tergat missed his pre-prepared drinks bottle
But it wasn’t to be. After 30 kilometres, Tergat missed his pre-prepared drinks bottle, so he had to take the water which the organisers supplied. And this water was very cold. It did not even take two minutes before his stomach started cramping.
That was the end of his dream. But he didn’t drop out. He entered Panathinaikon Stadium in tenth position.
Jürg Wirz, author of the book “Paul Tergat – Running to the Limit” which will be out in February – recently interviewed Tergat exclusively for the IAAF internet.
How did you overcome the Athens’ disappointment?
“Honestly, I was stunned. I sacrificed so much for my last Olympic opportunity. In the race it was hard to accept what happened.
I mean, if you are not well prepared, if other competitors are stronger than you, you have to accept. If you run your heart out and still you cannot make it, that’s okay.
World Marathon record holder Tergat (real,- BERLIN-MARATHON 2003 in 2:04:55) on a UN mission in Sudan
But it was in fact such a stupid accident that robbed me of my fair chance. I didn’t want ...