Great Scottish Run participants recently had the chance to pose questions to Haile Gebrselassie. Here are some of the long distance great’s answers

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Scott MacMichael, 34, Alloa

Sweat. You need to sweat to be able to think. My brain needs to sweat.

“You need to sweat to be able to think. My brain needs to sweat.”

Of all of your achievements, is there one memory that stands out and will live with you forever?
Gail Hughes, 51, Montrose

My first big world record, the 5000m in Zürich 1995. I was flying that day. It was an amazing feeling. I broke the record by 11 seconds, with a last kilometre in 2:30 minutes.

But my most thrilling race was my gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney. I was injured at that time and I had almost cancelled the Olympics. But I did the impossible there to win, in a heroic race with Paul Tergat. My winning margin of nine hundredths of a second was less than the 12 hundredths of a second in which Maurice Greene won from Ato Boldon in the 100m in Sydney.

What’s on your running playlist?
John Friel, 46, Glasgow

Scatman, from Scatman John. Perfect quick rhythm for fast running.

What is the one thought/image that you call to mind when you feel that you have no extra to give yet know you must find it anyway?
Alex Cuthbert, 41, Glasgow

In a competition, I focus on the tactics, my breathing and any possible tempo changes made by the other competitors. I am also enjoying the atmosphere and the spectators. I enjoy feeling my body when I am running.

But most importantly I want to win. No matter what. If I have to choose between the presidency of Ethiopia or a world record in the marathon, I choose absolutely the world record. I have an infinite confidence in my own abilities and I know that I can win. I work so hard, I want to win.

The marathon is the hardest thing there is. The whole 42,195 metres long you are fighting the distance. The only way to overcome the distance is to be disciplined and patient.

Patience is very important. Only then can you give 110%. With only 100% you will not make it.

» See the December 17 edition of AW magazine to read more of Haile Gebrselassie’s answers. Gebrselassie was recently voted the ultimate men’s distance runner by Athletics Weekly readers – read about that here

» Video via Steven Mills on YouTube