Kenya renews rivalry with neighbours in Great Ethiopian Run

Great Ethiopia Run

From left: Richard Nerurcar the events moderator interviews Uganda's Rodgers Kibet and Dan Kibet, Kenyans Shadrack Koech and Cornelius Kemboi during a pre-race press conference for the 2021 Total Energies Great Ethiopia Run International 10km road race on January 21, 2021 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • The race, which was to be held initially in November, was moved to this year and the organisers are happy that athletes and mass participants will be competing again
  • Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who won the 2019 women' race, will be using the race to kick start her season
  • Koech, who trains Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County said he was happy to have been invited to compete in the race which he expects to be fiercely contested

In Addis Ababa

The 2021 Total Energies Great Ethiopian Run International 10km road race has attracted a good number of athletes with Kenyans also represented in Sunday's race in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The race, which was to be held initially in November, was moved to this year and the organisers are happy that athletes and mass participants will be competing again.

Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who won the 2019 women' race, will be using the race to kick start her season.

She said that she is targeting a personal best this year in the half marathon and will be competing at home as part of her preparations for the new season.

“After clocking my personal best last year, I still believe world record time is achievable. I will try my best to see if I can break the world record time in half marathon. But first, I have to compete and perform well on Sunday,” said Yamlezerf.

She said the race will be interesting because many athletes have been out of competition.

Yamlezerf participated in Antrim Coast Half Marathon in 2021 where she returned a Personal Best time of 63:43, a world record time which was not ratified because the course was short by 54 metres.

Collins Kemboi and Shadrack Koech will be representing Kenya in the race where they will face more than 200 local athletes.

Both athletes were taken to have a feel of the high altitude region of Entoto Forest, about 2,800m-3,100m above sea levell, where Ethiopians train for various races across the globe.

The early morning training saw Kemboi and Koech do a light 40 minutes run before doing some cool down.

Koech, who trains Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, said he was happy to have been invited to compete in the race which he expects to be fiercely contested.

“I know on Sunday it would be tough but I have been preparing since I was told that I will participate. I would like to know how it feels running with a number of good athletes,” said Koech.

Kemboi, on his part predicted a fast race but is keen on a place in the podium.

Ethiopia athletics legend Haile Gebrselassie said that a race without Kenyans or Ugandans competing against Ethiopians is not interesting at all.

“We are happy that the race will be happening with participants looking forward to the event. It has always been interesting to watch Kenyans, Ethiopians and now Ugandans competing and by the end of the day one has to win and we all celebrate because sport is a unifying factor,” said Haile.

The race General Manager Dagmawit Amare said that organisation has been challenging especially due to Covid-19 but she is happy that this year's edition has 25,000 mass participants compared to previous edition where 12,500 participated.

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