The young winners of the German Unity Run organised by the German Embassy in Addis Ababa participated in the Berlin Half Marathon.
Many world-famous endurance runners come from Ethiopia, leaving international competition across the globe standing. In the East African country, long-distance running is a hugely popular sport on a par with football in Europe. Biographies such as that of Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie show that sport can unite people across continents: His international career began in Stuttgart in 1993, and four times in the course of his career he was first to cross the finishing line in the Berlin Marathon.
Sport breaks down barriers
To celebrate with people in Ethiopia the power of sport to break down barriers, the German Embassy in Addis Ababa organised a large-scale run through the streets of the capital on the 25th anniversary of German reunification. Haile Gebrselassie assumed the patronage of the German Unity Run together with German Ambassador Joachim Schmidt.
More than 3000 pupils in Addis Ababa gathered at the starting line for a four-kilometre race on 3 October. The runners poured through the streets of the Ethiopian capital clad in black, red and gold t‑shirts. And the prize awaiting the winners included more than just professional Adidas running shoes. The fastest male and female runners won a free place to take part in the Berlin Half Marathon.
It finally became a reality on Sunday, 2 April 2017. Supported by the Federal Foreign Office and the organisers of the Berlin Half Marathon, Betelehem (17) and Gadisa (16) set off from the starting line on Berlin’s Karl-Marx-Allee. The race, which goes along the avenue Unter den Linden, through the Brandenburg Gate and the Tiergarten park, is not only a great opportunity for the two talented young people to launch their running careers. For Betelehem and Gadisa, who come from modest backgrounds, the trip to Berlin was the first time they have been abroad. At home in Addis Ababa they train six days a week at a professional athletics club. Through their participation in the Berlin Half Marathon, they are one step closer to fulfilling their dream of following in the footsteps of the world-famous Ethiopian running stars. The Federal Foreign Offices wishes them “መልካም”“ እድል!” (“Melkam eddill” = “Every success” in Amharic).