Addis Ababa, 07 June 2020 – Ethiopia’s distance running legend Haile Gebreselassie joined two current Ethiopian world champions Muktar Idris and Netsanet Gudeta and former world champion Gete Wami to take part in the final day of a virtual 5km run in Addis Ababa earlier today.
Gebrselassie, Idris, Gudeta and Wami took part in a “champions’ relay” over 5km to close the event which had opened on Monday 1 June and has been raising funds for Ethiopia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 500 participants including runners from around the world have taken part in the run organised by Great Ethiopian Run.
The champions’ relay took place at the Addis Ababa Stadium and saw Gebrselassie teaming up with 2018 World Half-Marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta against the duo of 2019 5000m world champion Muktar Idris and 1999 10,000m world champion Gete Wami.
Gebrselassie and Gudeta covered their 5km in 16:57:26 while Idris and Wami ran 18:56.49. The event was broadcasted live on Fana TV.
Speaking about the significance of the virtual 5km run, Gebrselassie, now 47, said: “this is a difficult time not only for athletes in Ethiopia, but for the whole country. Our hope is that this race will motivate others to stay fit and keep exercising while we fight the disease.”
Gebrselassie still trains every day on his treadmill at home. He has been a prominent campaigner on national media during Ethiopia’s fight against the disease.
In April he featured in a campaign video to encourage Ethiopians to stay at home and practise social distancing and again today he spoke on live television transmission about the importance of respecting measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Until yesterday Ethiopia had 1934 confirmed cases of infection from COVID-19 and 20 deaths.