because of beijing's air pollution levels, gebrselassie decided to withdraw from the marathon at the 2008 beijing olympics. he suffers from asthma and said that running in such conditions may be harmful for his health. gebrselassie later admitted that he regretted the decision as the beijing air was cleaner than expected. he did, however, run the 10,000 meters, finishing sixth with a time of 27:06.68. The gold medal went to his countryman and current world record holder, kenenisa bekele. the following month, on 28 September 2008, he defended his berlin marathon title, averaging 2:56.5 per kilometer (4:43.7 per mile) for a time of 2:03:59, which was 27 seconds under his own world record set on the same course.