Monday, March 23, 2015

Worshipping at the 'high temple' of Ethiopia's long distance runners

(Mar 23, 2015, (The Guardian))--It’s before dawn, but Meskel Square, Addis Ababa’s grand centrepiece, is already busy. The long-haul buses leave from here before the sun rises: 11 hours to Dire Dawa; 12 hours to Bahir Dar; 50 hours to Aksum. In the darkness, lit by a few flickering streetlights and the occasional high beams of passing cars, stand already-weary passengers, their luggage at their feet.

One of Ethiopia’s great runners, Haile Gebrselassie, at the FBK games in 2008. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP
I hide in the shadows, self-conscious. I’m not taking a bus. I’m waiting for the other runners to arrive – the dozens and dozens of Ethiopians who, famously, use the square to train every morning, running back and forth across its vast, semi-circular amphitheatre.

The track starts at the bottom and you work your way up. Running from one side to the other, without skipping a level, you’ll run 26 miles. A marathon. Read more from The Guardian »


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