November 16, 2005
A day in the park
The gloom that has settled over most people I know in Addis lifted for exactly one hour and 35 minutes over the weekend. The event was an official training morning for the upcoming Great Ethiopian Run, due to take place on Sunday, November 27.
More than 200 people – a mixture of keen ferengis, wannabe Kenenisas, middle aged office workers and street children – took part in mass aerobic sessions and short runs on Janmeda ( a huge piece of open land usually packed with people playing football). There were slow jogs, longer circuits for the faster runners and short dash races for boys and girls under 12. When you added the constant PA announcements and amplified music the whole thing began to feel a bit like an English summer fete.
Everyone was out enjoying yet another gloriously sunny morning with all the worries and tensions of the past few days temporarily left behind them. For me it was a reminder of what life used to be like in Addis Ababa before the election.
All the signs are that the 10k road race is going ahead, despite the general nervousness over large gatherings of people in the capital. A total of 25,000 people have signed up to take part – 5,000 more than last year. It is a great run because it is a genuine mass participation event. A couple of thousand of people normally join in off the street just for the sake of it. It is also organised by Haile Gebrselassie, an inspiring, unifying figure.
If the organisers can pull it off without any incidents, it should be a huge lift for the whole city.
Posted by aheavens at November 16, 2005 3:29 PM