Arguably the greatest and most versatile distance runner in world history, the inspirational Ethiopian, World and Olympic champion is the namesake of the first Haile Gebrselassie Marathon, which will take place on Sunday, 20 October 2013 in Hawassa, Ethiopia.
Residing in Addis Ababa, Haile Gebrselassie (40) is still actively attempting to break world records, now in the Masters category. “I don’t plan on retiring just yet. Outside of running I have my business to run which keeps me busy. We have hotels, office buildings, schools, a gym, a car dealership and lots more plans for expansion.
I’m also involved with the Great Ethiopian Run (win a trip, here), because it’s important to me to promote athletics in Ethiopia. I was very excited by Tim Murphy’s proposal to host a marathon in Ethiopia. This will be the first time that an international marathon will be staged in Ethiopia and Hawassa is the perfect place to do this,” says Gebrselassie.
“It’s nice to have an event named after me, but it won’t make it any easier for the runners,” laughs Gebrselassie. “Ethiopians are proud of their marathon runners. We all look up to Abebe Bekila, the father of running in Ethiopia. Since him, we’ve had two other Olympic marathon champions and two world record holders. It is great to now be able to boast with our very own big marathon race. I am hoping for big things to happen.
It would be great if lots of runners from abroad could come to Ethiopia and experience our country – see parts of our culture and history, and enjoy Ethiopian hospitality. I also want people to enjoy seeing the city of Hawassa and meeting the people there – one reason why I decided to build my hotel there. And of course we’d love for an Ethiopian to win the race. Taking part in a marathon isn’t always 100% enjoyable, but people are sure to enjoy the experience of Ethiopia”.
DATE: 20 October 2013
LOCATION: Hawassa, Ethiopia
RACES: 42.2km, 21.1km, 5km and a Kids Race
Brief Route Description: The Haile Gebrselassie Marathon will be run on a two-lap course. Each lap of the citywide course will be 21.1km. Half-marathoners and marathoners will start together at the convenient start/finish which is located two miles from the center of Hawassa, and within two miles of any of the race hotels.
The 21.1km lap is almost entirely on well-paved asphalt roads within Hawassa, which is at an elevation of 5,500 feet or 1,700 meters. A small section of the course is on a smooth, dirt trail. Hawassa is one of the flattest cities in Ethiopia and there are no major hills on the course. There are a few gradual uphill grades that lead from the shores of Lake Hawassa to the center of Hawassa.
Entries are limited to 1200 runners.