MÜNCHEN (Nettavisen): In 2020, Zerei Kbrom Mezngi wanted to become an athlete. The venture demanded too much, especially financially. This made the 36-year-old feel that he had to start working instead of being a full-time long-distance runner.
Not everyone agreed with that decision.
Shortly after Mezngi had decided to put the running shoes on the shelf, help came from an unexpected quarter. The couple he rents a home from in Stavanger were determined that Mezngi should continue with sports and not become a taxi driver, which was the alternative.
– When I told them I was going to stop running, they started calling around. There were more people who started collecting money, the long-distance runner tells Nettavisen.
The crown roll was successful, and Mezngi was able to continue running full-time. The same people who helped him in 2020 are sitting in the stands in Munich on Sunday. The national team runner will be in action in the men’s ten thousand meter final.
In other words, it is a grateful athlete who will make it through the 25 rounds at the Olympic Stadium.
– I have no words to explain it. It means a lot.
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Will be 45 years old and top runner
Despite the fact that Mezngi is 36 years old, he does not believe that the championship in Munich will be his last. On the contrary.
– I think I can keep going until I’m 45. I think I can run faster and faster. As you get older, you become mentally stronger.
During the interview with Nettavisen, the 10,000 meter runner has her coach, Asle Rønning Tjelta, with her. He adds that several people have shown that it is possible to maintain a high level after the age of 40.
– I don’t think there are any limitations. We have talked about the marathon, going up a bit in distance as he gets older, says Tjelta.
– It is absolutely possible to run fast in a marathon when you are over 40. That is what many of the best do, he continues.
Three Norwegians in the final
Mezngi is one of the country’s leading distance runners. On Sunday, he stands on the starting line together with two other Norwegians, hoping to secure one of the top five positions.
Bjørnar Sandnes Lillefosse and Magnus Tuv Myhre are the other two Norwegian participants on the starting line.
The race starts at 20:00 and is among the EC’s very last distances.