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Jos Hermens has said Kenenisa Bekele was too focused on his business interests in the build-up to the Berlin Marathon. He implored him to take a more “professional” approach in his practice, Hermens informs LetsRun. “This cannot go on. He is not behaving professionally. If you don’t prepare well, you’re not being professional. If you want to prepare for [a] marathon, you have to do the work, otherwise you’re not a professional. He has to make the decision to be disciplined and professional or he’s going to kill his career. If you don’t want to do the work, forget it; that’s what I told him today. If you want to run a good marathon, you need preparation. If you don’t do the homework, even with the big tank he has, it’s tough in the marathon. In track and field you can get away with it maybe, but in the marathon, if you’re not 100% fit and you can’t do all the work, then you will get hurt,” he said.
Hermens still believes that Bekele can be the best in the world at 26.2 miles, but to do that, he believes that Bekele must be 100% committed to running. On Monday, he made those expectations clear. Now the ball is in Bekele’s court. He has time to reflect on his Berlin experience and his career as a whole, and make a decision. Should he choose to retire now, no one would blame him; put together everything he’s accomplished in his career and it’s hard not to argue Bekele is one of the greatest distance runners in history. But if Bekele chooses to continue as a marathoner, Hermens would prefer that he focuses on running and take on a reduced role when it comes to his business interests. For Hermens, it comes down to one question:
“What do you want to be, a businessman or a professional runner?”