Several months ago toward the beginning of our arrival here to Kalalaa, Ileah had expressed her love of running to a few of the locals at the compound. It was then brought to her attention that there was an upcoming race on the 27th of November called “The Great Ethiopian Run” which is the largest road running race in all of Africa. Ileah was instantly interested in participating and I later decided I would participate too. The distance was 10 kilometers (a little over 6 miles I think) and there would be thousands of participates from all over the world (mostly other parts of Africa) running. I knew I couldn’t run 10 kilometers straight but I decided that walking it would be just as fun.
When the day finally came for the run, Ileah and I were joined by two other people from the village Eyobe (the village gardener) and Sammi (at high school student, one of the villagers). We all took a taxi to the location which was somewhere in the middle of Addis Ababa and lined up. It was quite a scene as people were warming up for the run and everybody was hipped up with excitement. The others wanted to line up in the front and I joined them hoping my efforts would keep me from getting lost in the crowd (it did little to help). Instead I was crammed in between so many people I couldn’t even see my own two feet. Eyobe and I were planning on walking the distance together however when the race started, we were instantly separated.
For the next 20 minutes I kept running from fear that if I stopped, I would get trampled on by the 35,000 other participates there that day. Eventually I tired out and walked the rest of the way. All the while, people were cheering and singing in groups of runners. As far as I could see in either direction front or behind, there were runners in red T-shirts. I finished the race in 2 hours and 35 seconds which placed me in the third place group. Not to confuse you, I did not win third place. Everyone who participates gets a metal when they finish and depending on your time, you either get a first (purple), second (green), or third (Yellow) place metal. I tried to get my metal when I finished but they ran out of them so Sammi graciously gave me his metal which was a second place green metal (although I felt completely unworthy of wearing it, I did). Turned out that Ileah, Sammi, and Eyobe all received second place metals. Non-the-less, I was happy to have participated. After the run, the four of us went out for lunch and coffee/tea before heading back to kalala. It was a lovely way to spend a lazy Sunday.