Three Kenyans, Solomon Boit, Evans Kipkemei and Kennedy Kimutai will battle ethiopians in Addis abba as race marks 20 years
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will Sunday host the 20th anniversary of Great Ethiopian Run - Africa’s largest mass participation sports event post-coronavirus lockdown - with founder Haile Gebrselassie confident the 10-kilometre road race will continue serving the greater good.
Speaking at a pre-race press conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Addis Ababa on Friday, Gebrselassie, a multiple world record holder in distance running, said the race will continue to make positive contribution beyond prize money.
Already, the distance running legend has built a school with proceeds from the annual race’s sponsorship with plans underway for the construction of another in partnership with the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
The former world record holder in the marathon and 10,000 metres also paid tribute to the great rivalry between Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes saying it helped raise the bar in African athletics.
He singled out his career-long running nemesis Paul Tergat for his contribution to the sport.
“Without Tergat the sport wouldn’t be as exciting as it is… he’s my friend and I even feel as though he’s right here with us now,” Gebrselassie, also a successful businessman said.
Tergat had been invited for this weekend’s 20th anniversary race but couldn’t travel as he is attending to his brother and other relatives who were involved in a freak road accident in Baringo County recently.
“Haile Gebrselassie, the legend, my brother, my friend and my worthy competitor in our hey days on the track, in cross country and on the roads, stands out tall for bequeathing Africa with such an incredible mass race that celebrates 20 amazing years this weekend,” Tergat wrote in a message to the organizers.
“Haile stands out as a giant, and one great role model to mankind through the way he was a success in his long professional athletics career, and by the way he has been a tremendous success also in his business undertakings after retiring from athletics.”
The Great Ethiopian Run has been forced to adjust to Covid-19 protocols that include a reduced number of runners starting the race in three separate waves to avoid congestion and to allow for greater distancing.
Three Kenyans – Solomon Boit, Evans Kipkemei and Kennedy Kimutai – are among a trimmed field of 300 elite runners who will line up at the iconic Meskel Square for the race’s start on Sunday.
posted Friday January 8th
by Elias Makori