Thousands of professional and amateur long-distance runners on Sunday converged on the streets of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa for the annual 10km “Great Run”.
Now in its 16th year, the event saw over 40,000 registrations despite a 6-month state of emergency declared in October following violent anti-government protests.
Relatively new athletes Abe Gashahun and Foiteyn Tesfaye – both Ethiopian nationals – came first in the men and women categories respectively.
“The race was very interesting and challenging at the same time. This is my first time to take part in it. It was very fast and I was told my time is the fastest ever so I am happy,” she said,” Tesfaye said.
Organizers said the state of emergency did have an effect, though insignificant, on the number of participants, with many international participants citing security fears.
“We had lots of cancellations after the state of emergency but we still managed to get like 250 international runners. Yesterday we had a pasta party for them at the Hilton and we just wanted to show and promote Ethiopia, we had traditional music, coffee so its not bad but its a reduced number and I hope we will get more next year.”
Despite the fears, the race, said to be the largest in Africa, concluded with no incidents reported.