The Great Ethiopian Run (GER) is one of the world’s most popular mass participation events. Residents consider it a festival and a public holiday, and it also allows elite athletes to compete. This year’s 10K road race, which is scheduled for November 20, 2022, has 40,000 participants registered.
The GER has recently been named one of the best road races in the world, attracting elite athletes as well as participants from all over the country and, to a lesser extent, the world. It is celebrating its 22nd anniversary this year, while the women’s 5 km race is celebrating its 20th.
The event has provided opportunities for emerging athletes who have gone on to achieve success on a global scale.
“Ethiopia is famous for its athletics, and many athletes have had successful careers since the start of the GER,” GER general manager Dagmawit Amare told The Reporter.
Road races are becoming more popular around the world, and mass running events have become more frequent.
Many foreigners have registered to compete in the race, and the number will be the highest since the COVID-19 interrupted period, according to Dagmawit.
The competition has attracted 500 elite athletes of both sexes from various clubs, regional states, and individuals. Athletes from Uganda, Kenya, and Eritrea are also expected to compete.
“We started a trial race due to an increase in the number of individual athletes participating in the annual race. Through screening, we were able to identify individual athletes,” Dagmawit said, adding that over 100 athletes competed and 50 were chosen in a qualifying competition held in Entoto.
The prize money for elite athletes has increased this year from 100,000 to 150,000 birr.
Aside from elite participation, mass participation is divided into three colors: green t-shirts for quick finishers, yellow t-shirts for leisurely running, and red t-shirts for family running. 10,000 people will wear green t-shirts, 20,000 will wear yellow t-shirts, and ten thousand will wear red t-shirts.
Representatives from 10 United Nations agencies, over 50 Members of Parliament, 20 ambassadors, and over 250 foreign participants are expected to take part in the event.
The GER organizes a number of annual races.
The seven-kilometer Entoto race was one of the events that debuted during COVID-19. When the race began, there were only 200 participants; however, the number of participants has now risen to 700.
“We’ve been running the competition for 14 months. Because the road is narrow, we have devised a strategy to limit the number of people,” Dagmawit said.
The Entoto Race is free, and participants must register online. When the maximum number of subscribers is reached, registration is immediately closed. Timing chips are placed on all participants’ legs to record the time they entered, allowing them to review their time.
The women’s 5K race, which began with 4,500 participants, has now surpassed 15,000 participants.
Dagmawit believes the GER events are improving year after year, and the organization has managed to organize high-quality running.
“We were able to develop a paperless registration process for the first time,” Dagmawit said. “It is not easy to gather 40,000 people in one day. We were intrigued by the prospect of developing sports technology.”
Dagmawit claims that they were able to improve event management, eventually allowing them to invite various celebrities. “Aside from that, the competition allowed Ethiopia and Kenya to strengthen their relationship.”