It’s not everyday you get a chance to run with these guys! One of the highlights from my trip to Ethiopia was chasing Haile Gebrselassie and Yemane Adhane Tsegay on the trails outside of Addis Ababa at 9,000 ft.
Did you make 2013 nutrition resolutions? Or maybe you simply vowed to eat better this year? No matter what nutritional program you follow, stay on course with these tips in my latest Competitor Running column.
We’ll then make our way to Tigray, “The Cradle of Humanity” and the surrounding Gheralta Mountains. World champs Gebre Gebremariam and Werknesh Kidane will join us for the rest of trip, giving us an insider’s view of their homeland.
Photo: Peter Doucette
Each day we will get out for fun training runs on local trails and dirt roads. I’ll make sure Gebre and Werknesh take it easy on us!
The Gheralta Massif proper. Photo courtesy Gabe Rogel & Vertical Ethiopia
Accessing Abune Yemata. Photo by Peter Doucette
We’ll explore the mystical trails in the Gheralta Mountains that lead to sacred sites and ancient underground Christian churches that were hewn out of volcanic rock over 1000 years ago.
With a small group of 15 participants, you’ll have plenty of one on one time with the Ethiopian greats and I’ll be incorporating some running clinics into our daily schedule.
In the middle of our trip we will be participating in a three day eye camp where over 1000 people will be cured of blindness. Working alongside HCP physicians and volunteers we will be escorting patients and assisting with bandage removal. My friends who have worked at an eye camp tell me that watching a blind patient open their eyes after surgery is one of the most unforgettable experiences of their life.
A cataract patient is prepared for surgery in Mekelle, Ethiopia. Courtesy National Geographic Poland
An Ethiopian farmer with his sight restored. Courtesy Toni Cervantes
A mother’s sight restored in Ethiopia after a Himalayan Cataract Project eye camp in Arbaminch. Courtesy Toni Cervantes
We’ll also be camping overnight with one of imagine1day’s partner communities where villagers will teach us how to cook Ethiopia’s famed dishes, take part in a sport competition with children, and party through the wee hours, singing and dancing under the stars with new friends.
A village celebration, drumming and dancing around a bonfire under the stars. Photo: imagine1day
Preparing injera, Ethiopia’s staple made of the high-protein grain teff. Photo courtesy Gabe Rogel and Vertical Ethiopia
A bubbling pot of shiro wat, a staple in Ethiopia made of powdered lentils, red onions and the perfect blend of spice. Photo: imagine1day
While staying in the village participants will meet the some of the children, teachers and parents impacted by imagine1day’s work. Since 2007, imagine1day’s work has benefitted over 45,000 children and 1,000 teachers, from 89 schools in the Tigray region.
Even in the absence of desks and books, children in Ethiopia are eager to learn. In 2011, imagine1day built a fully furnished school for these children who were previously sitting on stones in makeshift classrooms in the northern Tigray region. Photo: imagine1day
imagine1day’s Active Learning teacher training programs transform classrooms into student centred learning environments. Photo: imagine1day
While visiting the schools we will get out on the field and take part in a sport competition with children. Photo: imagine1day
The trip finishes with the first ever trail race in The Cradle of Humanity. We’ll run a spectacular 13.1 mile course in the Gheralta Mountains joined by Gebre, Werknesh, and 100 up and coming Ethiopian runners.
Girls converge at the start line of a 1,500 metre race at an imagine1day interschool sports competition. Photo: imagine1day
The Gheralta Massif proper—we’ll be running all around this one during our time in Tigray and the race itself starts at a town at its base. Photo courtesy Gabe Rogel and Vertical Ethiopia.
Rounding the corner of a dirt track, a group of boys compete for the title of fastest 3,000 metres amongst 30 of imagine1day’s partner schools. Photo: imagine1day
Best of all, your participation in this trip will help fund the three day eye camp where The Himalayan Cataract Project will perform over 1000 eye surgeries. In addition, the money you raise will continue imagine1day’s goal to ensure all Ethiopians have access to quality education funded free of foreign aid by 2030.
For more details and registration visit the ACCELERATE ETHIOPIA homepage. Looking forward to eating and running through Ethiopia with you!
The New York Times Sunday Book Review column, Inside the List by Parul Sehgal says:
“THE RUNNER: From wicked women to very virtuous men. Scott Jurek makes his debut on the hardcover nonfiction list this week — his book “Eat and Run,” written with Steve Friedman, comes in at No. 7 — but he’s been prominently featured in two best sellers: Timothy Ferriss’s “4-Hour Body,” which spent 41 weeks on the hardcover advice list, and “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougall, which is entering its 63rd week on the paperback nonfiction list. Jurek’s memoir about going from “a shy kid with high blood pressure” to an “ultramarathoner” — an elite athlete who competes in foot races longer than 26.2 miles — is interspersed with recipes and running tips. Joan Rivers wouldn’t approve, but Jurek argues that his plant-based diet accounts for his astonishing records: he has won the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run seven straight times, and he recently set a new American record for running the most miles in 24 hours (165.7). PaceGillian Flynn, but that’s scary.”