I met Haile Gebrselassie in March 2009, in Los Angeles, at a media event hosted by his shoe sponsor, Adidas. Geb made his first appearance at the event with no entourage. He had come all the way from Ethiopia alone. The photographers and video crews present showered him with digital attention as he walked outside surrounded by a mob of starstruck writers, including me. Geb then led us on a short, slow jog along the beach, which he interrupted to guide us through a brief session of those crazy calisthenics that Ethiopian runners like to do before workouts. Of the scores of people we passed on our little jaunt, only two recognized Geb: a German tourist, who behaved like a 12-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert, and an Ethiopian American cab driver who shouted delightedly, “Haile!” from the window of his passing vehicle.