Monday, January 02, 2006


Yet again, another year begins and I give thought to running the Los Angeles Marathon. Mind you, the event is only two months away, but I'm sure early training does not apply to me. After all, I'm Ethiopian, have the same genes as the greatest distance runners in the world...Enough said, right? As soon as I juggle some free time from my three jobs, I'm on it!

I flew into Addis early last year on British Airways, arrived at 2am...So early even my ride was still asleep, having expected me to arrive at 2pm later that day (one can only imagine the scare I gave them calling that early!). By 4:30am, we were on Bole road and I caught a strange sight of a group of young women running, head scarf (shash) on some, white shawl (netela) wrapped around others, and all wearing sneakers. "They're training," my ride told me,"training to be the next Derartu Tulu." Reading the following article brought back memories of that early morning.

...So that's what the spunky girl with matchstick legs and a ponytail did. She ran along the rutted dirt roads of the Ethiopian highlands, barefoot or in torn sneakers, trying to improve her endurance. She ran up the wide, cracked steps to Meskel Square in the capital, while goats wandered by and clouds of pollution turned the air charcoal gray.

...Inspired by these new national heroines, Tesdale and thousands of other girls have left their villages and come to the capital, living with relatives in hardscrabble neighborhoods, training on their own and dreaming of being able to compete.

Facing Servitude, Ethiopian Girls Run for a Better Life (Washington Post Foreign Service) December 29, 2005