35,000 join Haile Gebrselassie in Great Ethiopian Run to end poverty

02 Dec 2010

Addis Ababa - Thousands took to the streets in Addis Ababa on 21 November to participate in the Great Ethiopian Run, the biggest road race on the African continent. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the race mobilized its largest numbers ever -- bringing together athletes, youth, children, women and men from Ethiopia and abroad under the slogan “We Can End Poverty 2015.” Held just weeks after the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations, the massive mobilization keeps the anti-poverty goals at center stage and reinforces the need to accelerate progress towards their achievement.

The Great Ethiopian Run is the brainchild of Ethiopian national hero and double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie, who kicked off the race alongside Kenyan/Dutch gold medalist Lornah Kiplagat and Spain’s Abel Anton. Gebrselassie spoke out on the need to mobilize citizens, governments and the international community around the goals for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.  He also awarded medals to the winners of the elite athlete competition as well as the MDG race category where eight government ministries participated as a symbolic show of their commitment to the Goals.

Early next year, two additional MDG races will be staged in other regions of Ethiopia including Gambella in the western region and Jimma, a major university town in the state of Oromia. The 10 km race in Addis Ababa follows on from a successful Poverty Eradication Day staged by the Poverty Alleviation Network of Ethiopia and the Great Ethiopian Run race organizers in various schools.

The UN’s MDG Achievement Fund has partnered with the Great Ethiopian Run to support its use as a platform for advocacy and social mobilization around the MDGs. Various UN Agencies such as UNICEF have a long partnership with the Run to raise funds for children’s charity organizations in Ethiopia.