Abebe Bikila 1960, 64& Feyisa Lilesa 2016


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Great Ethiopian Run: in the footsteps of Haile Gebrselassie | Life and style | The Guardian

It's a crazy, joyous race at 2,300m above sea level in Addis Ababa, and it's the adrenaline as well as the altitude that leaves competitors breathless after the Great Ethiopian Run
Mass of runners in Great Ethiopian Run
More than 38,000 runners hit the streets of Addis Ababa for the Great Ethiopian Run, Africa's biggest race. Photograph: Dan Vernon
I am standing at the start line of the Great Ethiopian Run: not only the biggest race in Africa but one of the continent's biggest talent-spotting contests. Officially there are 38,000 of us, all in yellow-and-green race T-shirts, jostling and shoving and staring down a line of police with batons. But hundreds of others have sneaked into line, with home-brewed kit, swelling the numbers still further. A marshal warns me, "Don't try to get in front when they start – you'll be trampled!", then there's the blast of a horn, a rising crackle of noise, and the police cordon sprints for safety. Ahead of me two men lose their shoes in the tumult – and don't return – and I wonder: what the hell have I let myself in for?
For others, however, this 10km race around the hills of Addis Ababa, at an altitude of 2,300 metres, offers the chance to follow in the footsteps of the great Ethiopian runners: Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome running barefoot; the revered Haile Gebrselassie, 10,000m gold medallist at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics; and the current 5km and 10km world record holder Kenenisa Bekele. Previous winners in the race's 13-year history have gone on to win major marathons and Olympic medals. The race – which is shown live on Ethiopian TV – is not just a showcase for runners, but for the country, too.
That it takes place at all is down to Gebrselassie, who many see as a future president of Ethiopia. Invited by Brendan Foster, the founder of the Great North Run, to come over to Newcastle, Haile responded: "Why don't you help me to start a Great Ethiopian Run?" So Foster did.
"The whole country is running," says Gebrselassie, offering Ethopian coffee so strong you suspect it partly explains the speed of the country's athletes. "We try to rise up the people to do something. Sport has just one language, and when you encourage people through sport you encourage every sector, whatever their job. One religion, one culture, one language – and that is running."
But caffeine-fuelled beverages aside, why are Ethiopian distance runners so good? "It's because of opportunities here," says Gebrselassie, who spends the days before the race patiently smiling, chatting and posing for photographs. "Plus the lifestyle: the kids walk to school – no, they run! – every day. I ran six miles every day to school and back so my training started when I was three or four." Unsurprisingly, the Great Ethiopian Run even has a race for the under fives.
Though there are a few international runners – a team from Norway and a speedy gang from Birmingham – the race at elite level is tough for most foreigners because of that altitude. While your legs feel good to go, your lungs wheeze and moan in protest. It's like someone has strapped an iron band around your chest and compressed it.
My first experience of this comes on a track built by Bekele high in the mountains. Bekele himself has come to train, and we jog very slowly with him. At least, my GPS watch says it's slow – my lungs appear to think I've just finished a sub-four-minute mile. This is why athletes train at altitude – and why those born at it have an advantage – the body adapts to the relative lack of oxygen. But not, of course, on day one. And not when you are trying not to wheeze too loudly behind a multiple Olympic gold medallist.
Great Ethiopian Run: singing and dancing runnersRunners sing and chant en route. Photograph: Dan Vernon
After warming up, we follow Bekele into the woods where he and many other elite athletes train. He slips away in a matter of seconds, leaving us to puff and tootle around a few miles of hyena territory. "That's OK, they only come out at night," says a cheery runner. "Just don't be last!"
But by race day, either I've adapted slightly or the adrenaline has kicked in. Once I summon the courage to get out of the sidelines and into the sea of runners, I'm away. The first few kilometres are very slow, because of the sheer press of people, many of whom are too interested in talking, showing off and having fun to care what time they finish in, but the atmosphere is incredible. There are spontaneous outbreaks of loud joyous songs and chanting. Others dance and shout. I can't stop smiling.
The noise quietens – though only very slightly – as those hills kick in. I'm surrounded by friendly, chatty people, though the man who wants to talk to me about my impressions of Ethiopia probably shouldn't have chosen an uphill stretch to do it. Where some races have hi-tech drizzle showers to cool you off, this one has a full-on garden hose. Most people stop to dance in its makeshift shower.
Way, way, too soon (something I have never thought in a race before, and suspect never will again) the 9km marker is in sight and it's just the home stretch. The men's winner, Atsedu Tsegay, finished a long time ago and is about to be presented with his trophy by Gebrselassie.
My finish time is six minutes slower than my personal best, but that's irrelevant: this is the craziest race I've ever done and one of the best experiences of my life. As Haile eloquently puts it: "The best way to get rid of all stress and everything is to sweat a bit. It's a kind of treatment." And one that I would happily sign up to again.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Uganda dominates Cross Country meet

Uganda dominates Cross Country meetPublish Date: Dec 01, 2013
Uganda dominates Cross Country meet
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Bezabh Belay, Ronald Musagala and Joshua Cheptegei with their medals. Photo by Norman Katende

By Norman Katende
Results Individual category
Ronald Musagala (KU) 31:22.2
Bezabh Belay (ETH) 31:33.8
Joshua Cheptegei (Bugema) 32:26.2
Abu Mayanja (KU) 33:03.5
Martin Chemtingen (KU) 33:08.7
Winnie Nanyondo (KU) 21:29.7
Dorcus Ajok (Ndejje) 21:44.7
Annet Chebet (Ndejje) 21:54.7
Prim Twikirize (Ndejje) 22:10.4
Thembi Baloyi (RSA) 22:12.3
Team results
Kampala University 16 pts
UCU 80pts
Women results
Ndejje University 9pts
Tshwane University 22pts
Kampala University 25pts
RONALD Musagala beat Ethiopia’s Bezabh Belay to win the Africa University Cross Country championships and also lead Uganda’s Kampala University to the team event gold medal at the Africa University Cross Country Championships that took place at Entebbe Golf Course on Sunday.
Winnie Nanyondo won the women’s event but a 2-3-4 finish from Ndejje University’s Dorcus Ajok, Annet Chebet and Prim Twikirize, saw them deny Kampala University a clean sweep of gold medals in both the individual and team events in an exciting race held on a challenging course.
Musagala put up a good run and by the 3km mark, he was in control of the race with Belay and Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei from Bugema University dictating the pace.
It all looked like he was just setting the pace for Belay, who looked confident and keeping a two meter gap just behind them in the 10.5km race but when they reached the 9.5km mark, Musagala sped off and he never looked behind as he strolled to victory in a time of 31 minutes 22.2 seconds, with Belay coming home over ten seconds after.
“It was a challenging course but I have been working on my endurance which has helped me a lot in this race,” said Musagala, who is a World Athletics Senior Championship 800m semi-finalist.
“It was too hot and the course was challenging,” Belay said.
It was a good result for Kampala University as Nannyondo also held on despite tough competition from Ndejje and Tswane University’s Thembi Baloyi to win.
It was always going to be close but her decision to sprint earlier than planned was enough to give her a huge gap of over 15 seconds as the middle distance runners also dominated the women event. 
Nannyondo and Ajok are 800m and 1500m runners.
The race was a warm up for the W

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Netsanet Gudeta & Atsedu Tsegay Win at the Great Ethiopian 10km Run | East Africa News

Netsanet Gudeta and Atsedu Tsegay became the new champions at the Great Ethiopian Run 10km in Addis Ababa on Sunday, according to the report by iaaf.org.
Both runners had to work hard for their victories on a tough new course in the northern part of the Ethiopian capital around the Jan Meda Race Ground.
The changes in start and finish location from its traditional venue in Meskel Square had been forced upon the organizers as a result of road and rail construction work in the city.
Tsegay won the 13th edition of the race in a time of 29:21, the slowest winning time since Gebregziabher Gebremariam won in 2002.
However, the winning time didn’t matter to Tsegay, who fought hard over the second part of the course to claw back a 10-metre deficit over a hilly section of the route between 6km and 9km.
A group of 11 passed the halfway mark in 13:38, after the leading pack was gradually whittled down to five by 6km and three by 7km.
At this point 2013 Boston Marathon champ Lelisa Desisa started to struggle. Indicative of the new undulating route, the final 3km metres were covered in 9:31 compared with the opening 3km of 8:18, and the last three kilometres turned into a war of attrition, as Tsegay took the lead just before the 9km point as he headed back up the final hill past Menelik Hospital and along the edge of Jan Meda.
Tsegay, continuing the tradition of a different man winning every year, came home four seconds clear of Adugna Tekele, with Hunegnaw Mesfin a further three seconds back.
In the women’s race, Netsanet Gudeta ran a clever tactical race which saw her overhaul long-time race leader Atsede Bayissa at the 7km point.
Bayissa stormed through the first 5km in 15:08 but could only manage 18:42 over the race’s second half as she drifed back to third. By comparison, Gudeta’s splits were 15:20 and 18:03 and she crossed the line in 33:23. Tadelech Bekele ran strongly over the final two kilometres to take second in 33:44.
Gudeta, who hails from the small town of Bekoji which has produced the likes of Kenenisa Bekele, Derartu Tulu and Tirunesh Dibaba, only requested a start number on the day before the race after deciding that her good form from her recent Coca Cola Series win in Addis Ababa back in September was still there.
Gudeta is part of a training group which also includes last year’s Great Ethiopian Run champion Aberu Kebede, Aselefech Mergia, Sule Utura and Koreni Jelila.
An estimated 30,000 runners finished the race. Kenya’s recently crowned World Marathon Majors champion Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya joined former champions Haile Gebrselassie, Tsegaye Kebede and Gebremariam Gebregziabiher in presenting the prizes.
It is to be remembered that the Great Ethiopian Run has been the first winner of the AIMS social award. AIMS(Association of International Marathons and Distance Races) had presented the award, which highlights races working towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, to the successful Ethiopian 10km race during the first AIMS Best Marathon Runner Awards Gala Dinner on 8 November 2013 in Athens, Greece.
The eight Millennium Development Goals include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, combatting disease, decreasing child mortality, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and ensuring environmental stability.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Terrorist threat forces Kathryn to cancel Ethiopia charity run - Herald.ie

Kathryn Thomas. Picture: Brian McEvoy

OPERATION Transformation host Kathryn Thomas was forced to pull out of the Great Ethiopian Run after al-Shabaab terrorists threatened to sabotage the charity event.

Kathryn (34) was due to travel to Africa last week and run 10k to raise money for Self Help Africa.
But the Carlow native had to cancel her flight after the charity advised participants not to travel for the run.
She told the Herald: "I've travelled to Ethiopia and to Addis Ababa before and I think it's a great place and city – I've always been happy and felt safe travelling there.
"But the al-Shabaab terrorists were responsible for the Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, so the organisers had to take things seriously.
"Ethiopia has been on high alert since those two suicide bombers blew themselves up before Ethiopia's World Cup qualifying match against Nigeria."
Kathryn added organisers were particularly conscious after the Boston Marathon bombings earlier in the year. "They really had to alert participants to the danger and advise them not to travel," she said.
"The event wasn't cancelled but Self Help Africa had to warn everyone about it."
Despite the alert, several Irish participants made their way to Ethiopia. The hard core marathon men and women ran a different race in Hawass, several hours south of Addis Ababa, and dubbed it 'The Alternative Great Ethiopia Run'.
Kathryn added: "I'm delighted the other participants ran an alternate race and the event was a success despite everything.
"It was obviously a disappointment. It's the biggest run in the city – over 40,000 take part – but these things happen and safety is always a priority."
Kathryn is currently down in Cork filming the next series of Operation Transformation. But despite being in a different continent, she made sure to make a contribution to the 10k run.
So she threw on a pair of sneakers and hit the pavements in the south.
She revealed: "We did a 10k run down in Cork to make up for it.
"I was going to run it on the same day but I was travelling so did it the following day."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Nigeria qualifies for 2014 World Cup with win over Ethiopia 4-1 - Soccer - SI.com

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John Obi Mikel and Nigeria became the first African team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
John Obi Mikel and Nigeria became the first African team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Sunday Alamba/AP
CALABAR, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigeria qualified for the World Cup on Saturday, continuing an outstanding year for the team after it won the African title for the first time in nearly a decade.
Nigeria beat surprise package Ethiopia 2-0 in the second leg of their playoff for a 4-1 aggregate victory.
Victor Moses converted a 20th-minute penalty after an Ethiopian handball, and Victor Obinna made certain of Nigeria's place in Brazil with his goal in the 82nd at UJ Esuene Stadium. It's the team's second straight World Cup.
Ethiopia was trying to reach its first World Cup after unexpectedly reaching the playoffs ahead of 2010 host South Africa.
Ethiopia's Aynalem Hailu was penalized for handball inside 20 minutes for Nigeria's penalty after the ball bounced up off his chest and hit his arm. Obinna scored from a free kick soon after arriving as a substitute to seal Nigeria's qualification.
Nigeria took the first of five African places at next year's tournament.
Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast plays Senegal in the decisive leg of their playoff later Saturday in neutral Morocco. Ivory Coast won the first leg 3-1.
In the three remaining African playoffs, Cameroon and Tunisia are level after a 0-0 draw in Tunisia and Burkina Faso leads Algeria 3-2 ahead of their second-leg games on Sunday. Egypt hosts Ghana on Tuesday needing a major upset to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990 after Ghana won the first leg 6-1.
If Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Algeria and Ghana qualify, Africa will be represented by the same five teams that made it to South Africa's World Cup.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20131116/nigeria-qualifies-for-world-cup-ethiopia.ap/#ixzz2kq9LkWTQ