Kenenisa Bekele’s longtime agent Jos Hermens could tell during Sunday’s BMW Berlin Marathon race that Kenenisa had not managed his injuries properly.
By Jonathan Gault (Letsrun.com) |
On Monday morning, 24 hours after Kenenisa Bekele concluded his disappointing 2017 season by dropping out of the BMW Berlin Marathon just after the halfway point, Kenenisa went to breakfast in the hotel restaurant at the InterContinental Berlin. His longtime agent, Jos Hermens, waited for the restaurant to empty out. Then he and Kenenisa began to talk.
At its core, an agent’s job is to keep his client happy. But neither Hermens nor Kenenisa were happy about how this year had played out, and Hermens believed it was time to level with Kenenisa. What followed was what Hermens described as a “friendly but strong” conversation in which Hermens asked the 35-year-old Kenenisa to consider what he wants from the rest of his career. There was no yelling, but Hermens had a point to make.
His biggest message: if Kenenisa is to continue in the marathon, it is time to go all-in.
Hermens said that he believes Kenenisa Bekele must improve “everything” in his preparation, but one of the most important factors is how he balances his running with his business interests. Kenenisa Bekele owns a hotel, among other businesses in Ethiopia, and he is an involved owner, often visiting the properties to check up on them after completing his training sessions in the morning. But both activities require time, and it can be difficult to achieve the recovery that a full marathon buildup requires while devoting time and energy to other things.
“This cannot go on,” Hermens said. “He is not behaving professional. 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 professional. He has to make the decision to be disciplined and professional or he’s going to stop his career. If you don’t want to do the work, forget it, that’s what I told him today.
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